Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, said he would keep his government’s $2bn investment in a private equity firm founded by Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner if the former president is re-elected.
“It’s a commitment that [Public Investment Fund] PIF has, and when PIF has commitment with any investment around the globe, [we] keep it,” the Saudi crown prince told Fox News anchor Brett Baier.
He also downplayed any idead that the massive investment would affect the decision-making of a hypothetical Trump administration during an interview aired on Wednesday.
“Saudi Arabia is so big, so I’m quite sure mostly any person around the world, directly or indirectly, you have something to do with Saudi Arabia,” he added. “So if that can affect President Trump’s decision, if he becomes president, that means it can affect every president in the world’s and every person in the world’s decision.”
Mr Kushner created his private equity firm, Affinity Partners, the day after Donald Trump left office in January 2021. Later that year, the PIF invested $2bn into the firm.
During the Trump administration, Mr Kushner was an ally of MBS, working closely on foreign policy and sticking by the Saudi leader after he was accused of sending assassins to kill Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident writer for The Washington Post who killed and maimed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
The Biden administration has since conculded that the prince approved the killing, which he denies.
The sudden investment in a West Wing power broker raised ethics alarms in Washington.
In 2022, the House Oversight Committee launched an investigation into the investment.
Mr Kushner has stonewalled the committee since it changed into Republican hands, according to Maryland representative Jamie Raskin, who wrote a letter in August to chairman James Comer.
“I urge you to pursue a serious and objective investigation by issuing a subpoena to Affinity and requiring the firm to comply with my February 15, 2023, request for documents regarding its receipt of billions of dollars from Gulf monarchies shortly after Mr. Kushner left a senior White House position he used to reshape U.S. foreign policy toward Saudi Arabia and the Middle East in Saudi Arabia’s favor—a request you have thus far allowed Mr. Kushner to ignore and defy,” he wrote.
The Saudi government initially had doubts about investing with Mr Kushner, The New York Times reported, with Saudi finance experts expressing dismay during a June 2021 meeting at “the inexperience of the Affinity Fund management,” “the bulk of the investment and risk,” and a due dilligence process that was “unsatisfactory in all aspects.”
Nonetheless, days later, the fund, led by Mr bin Salman, pursued the investment anyway.
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