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US House panel launches probe into $2bn Saudi investment in Kushner firm

June 6, 2022 at 3:17 pm

Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman (L), Trump’s son-in-law and Senior Advisor Jared Kushner (C) and his wife Ivanka Trump (R) [PressTV]

A probe into Saudi Arabia’s $2 billion investment into a firm owned by Jared Kushner has been opened by a US House committee. The investigation will seek to uncover if the son-in-law of former US President Donald Trump, who was also adviser to the White House, traded on his government position to land the lucrative investment from the Saudis.

The private equity firm belonging to Kushner received the $2 billion investment from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund last year after he and the Trump administration left the White House. Huge question marks were raised over the investment because of revelations that Kushner received the money despite objections from the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF).

Representative Carolyn B Maloney, the New York Democrat who leads the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, gave Kushner a two-week deadline in a letter sent last week, according to a report in the New York Times. Kushner has been instructed to furnish documents related to the Saudi fund’s investment in his firm, Affinity Partners. She also asked for any personal correspondence between Kushner and the Saudi’s de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, during or after the Trump administration. The two were said to have been very close.

“The Committee on Oversight and Reform is investigating whether you (Kushner) have improperly traded on your government position to obtain billions of dollars from the Saudi government and whether your personal financial interests improperly influenced US foreign policy during the administration of your father-in-law, former President Trump,” Maloney said in her letter to Kushner.

READ: Kushner using Saudi funds to invest in Israeli start-ups

In a statement, a spokesman for Kushner said: “While achieving six peace deals in the Middle East, Mr. Kushner fully abided by all legal and ethical guidelines both during and after his government service.”

“He is proud to be among many private sector stakeholders advancing connectivity between Americans, Israelis and Arabs to encourage continued regional progress,” the statement continued.

There has been no comment from the Saudi government or the Saudi Public Investment Fund into the probe.

PIF’s own advisers expressed doubts over the potential benefits of the deal. According to the minutes of the panel’s meeting in June 2021, objections included: the “inexperience” of the fund’s management; a proposed asset management fee that seemed “excessive”; and “public relations risks” arising from Kushner’s previous role as Trump’s senior adviser.

Despite the objections, the full board of the PIF – headed by Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) – overruled the panel’s opposition.

Although it is not illegal for former US government officials to use connections made during their time in office to secure investment, Saudi investment into Kushner’s firm has caused outrage due to ethical concerns raised around the deal and because of his personal relationship with MBS.