Stud owned by Sheikh worth €18bn given €300k in EU farm payments

Stud owned by Sheikh worth €18bn given €300k in EU farm payments

The stud farm owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai and one of the Arab world's richest royals, has received more than €300,000 in single farm payments from the EU over the past two years.

The sheikh bought Kildangan in 1986, and the Kildare stud farm is only one strand of his extensive horse-breeding operations. His Darley stud group is one of the world's biggest producers of champion horses.

The Irish Independent has learned that Kildangan stud farm received €162,047 in a single farm payment from the EU in 2015. The farm was allocated a payment of €152,120 in 2014.

Documents seen by this newspaper show Kildangan also received €122,254 in 2008 and €127,502 in 2009. The Department of Agriculture did not release figures for single farm payments in the interim period, but it is believed Kildangan's farm payments have totalled more than €1m in the past decade.

The single farm payment is provided to farmers across the EU. The total provided to Irish farmers is €1.6bn, with the average payment standing at around €12,000.

The sheikh has an estimated fortune of more than €18bn. He was one of the founders of the Emirates airline group and has been a key player in making Dubai a hub for international business over the past 25 years.

His Godolphin firm also owns the Ballysheehan stud in Co Tipperary. Last December, Godolphin acquired the Victor stud - which includes a 170-acre farm - in Tipperary from Tom and Cathy Burns for €1.2m.

Sheikh Mohammed has had interests in the horse racing world since the 1980s when he bought the Irish thoroughbred Appeal, which went on to produce nine winners.

Darley stud has land holdings in six countries, with the group's headquarters based at Dalham Hall in Suffolk. Darley also has two farms in Australia and stands stallions in France and Japan.

The sheikh's farm in Kentucky, which has produced more than 200 race winners, is an 800-acre stud which he bought in 2001.

One of Godolphin's most valuable breeding stallions is Dubawi, who has sired 24 major race winners, making him one of the world's top sires, surpassed only by Coolmore's peerless Galileo.

The sheikh was also responsible for the launch of the Dubai World Cup, a race meeting in the United Arab Emirates that carries a €24m prize fund.

Sheikh Mohammed is the owner of the world's third-biggest yacht, a 162-metre vessel that cost around €370m. He has 20 children with his two official wives.

In 2007, he announced he would give €9bn to the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum foundation, an educational fund established with the aim of helping students in the Middle East.

The sheikh's eldest son, Sheikh Rashi bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, died last September of a heart attack at the age of 33.