New York Times reported that the Saudi National Wealth Fund advisory panel had reservations about the deal. However, they were overruled by New York Times.
An expert panel advising Saudi Arabia’s national wealth fund objected to investing billions of dollars into a private equity firm created by former presidential advisor Jared Kushner months after he left office, the New York Times reported on Sunday.
Kushner sought to secure $2 billion in investment from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) for his firm called Affinity Partners. The five-member board investment committee that advised the Saudi financial institution reviewed the project, according to The NYT. According to the paper, they were concerned about this project.
The experts were concerned about the lack of financial experience among the firm’s management, the fact that the Saudi fund would become the primary investor, the operational practices that they found “unsatisfactory in all aspects”The proposed management fees they propose “excessive.”
Advisors brought up transparency issues surrounding billions of dollars being poured into a company that was run by a Trump-era senior official. According to The newspaper, the coziness of Trump officials with Saudi Arabia is well documented.
Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, served as a presidential adviser and point man for Middle East affairs. Kushner is credited for negotiating a variety of rapprochement arrangements between Israel, Gulf states and the Abraham Accords.
The committee meeting was held on June 30, 2021, according to the report, but days later the advice was overruled by the Saudi fund’s board. According to the NYT, the decision was made by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He is widely believed to have taken the place of King Salman (86 years old).
Affinity Partners aimed to raise $7 billion through various investors worldwide, but it has not been able to do so. The firm currently has $2.5 Billion under management according to its most recent public disclosure, which was made at March’s end. Most of this money is apparently Saudi.
This newspaper contrasted the Saudi investment to that of a comparable private equity firm established by Steven Mnuchin, former Treasury Secretary.
According to the article Mnuchin is an experienced investor and has had success in managing investments. He got about half of Kushner’s amount. Mnuchin’s firm, Liberty Strategic Capital, raised $2.7 billion from a total of 33 investors, according to its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Affinity Partners’ fundraising in Saudi Arabia, including the sum of the investment, were previously covered by the media. It said that its report now details. “the outcome, scale and timing of his firm’s deal as well as the debate it aroused.”
It was noted in the newspaper that “no law or rules constrain the investment activities of former administration officials after leaving the White House; many from both parties have profited from connections and experiences gained in government.”
When the NYT inquired, both Affinity Partners and the Saudi Public Investment Fund declined to discuss their relationships.
The update on Kushner’s financial deals with Saudi Arabia came weeks after the newspaper reported the progress in a US federal investigation of controversial dealings by Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden. He’s accused of cashing in his family name, acting as foreign agent and tax violations without having properly declared himself.
The newspaper also confirmed that materials taken from a laptop were authentic. This was reported in New York Post’s run-up to 2020 Presidential Election. This story was famously suppressed and dismissed by major tech as Russian propaganda by other media outlets.