Former US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner's private equity firm, Affinity Partners, has received $200 million from a UAE wealth fund, and a similar amount from a Qatari entity.
The New York Times reported on Friday that Kushner received hundreds of millions from the two Persian Gulf Arab countries for his firm.
According to people with knowledge of the matter, the two Arab states joined Saudi Arabia in backing the venture launched by Kushner as he left the White House.
The oil and gas-rich Persian Gulf monarchies' payments to Kushner reflect the continued efforts by Trump's close allies and relatives to cash in from the close ties they built with the wealthy Arab states during his presidency and the desire of leaders in the region to remain on good terms with Kushner as his father-in-law seeks the presidency again.
The Times reported that two sources with knowledge about the transactions said the Emiratis invested more than $200 million with Kushner’s firm, Affinity Partners.
According to the two people with knowledge of that deal, a Qatari entity invested a similar sum with the firm.
The money given by the UAE came through a sovereign wealth fund, but the identity of the Qatari investor is unclear.
However, top Emirati officials are also said to have close ties with Kushner, which were forged during the Trump administration.
In 2018, during the Trump presidency, a Qatar-linked company helped bail out Kushner’s infamous debt-ridden building in midtown Manhattan, 666 Fifth Avenue.
US top-ranking officials and politicians from both parties often benefit financially from deals abroad after leaving government service, particularly in the Middle East.
Despite few laws or ethics guidelines prohibiting Americans from profiting from the wealth of the Arab countries, the sheer enormity and timing of the investments in Kushner’s firm have raised eyebrows in Washington.
To put it in perspective, the investments are not especially large coming from energy-rich countries whose sovereign wealth funds manage hundreds of billions of dollars in assets. And they are far smaller than the commitment made earlier by the main Saudi sovereign wealth fund, a $650 billion entity known as the Public Investment Fund, which, as The New York Times has reported, invested $2 billion with Kushner in 2021. Affinity Partners has confirmed that the Public Investment Fund was backing it without giving details on the amount. Updated disclosures are likely to show that Affinity Partners now manages roughly $3 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter.
However, investments in Kushner's firm were made despite the panel that screens investments for the Saudi sovereign wealth fund voting unanimously against investing in Kushner's company, citing the "inexperience" of its management, an asset management fee that "seems excessive," and other “unsatisfactory” aspects of the new company.
Meanwhile, the lucrative money ties between the Saudi leadership and Kushner raise legal and ethical concerns, particularly if Trump becomes president again.
The Republican former president had created close ties with the Saudi rulers during his tenure at the White House and aligned his administration’s Mideast policy more closely with the kingdom. Kushner facilitated the undertakings by cultivating a personal friendship with the Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, the kingdom’s de facto ruler.
As president, Trump's first official visit abroad, which had been arranged by Kushner, was to Riyadh. During the trip, Trump unveiled a multi-billion dollar arms deal, which had also been negotiated by Kushner.
Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), who in 2022 was chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, opened an investigation into whether Kushner had traded on his government position to secure the Saudi investment in his venture.
Maloney wrote to Kushner asking, "whether your personal financial interests improperly influenced US foreign policy during the administration of your father-in-law, former President Trump." Kushner denied any wrongdoing.
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