A fund led by the Saudi crown prince contributed over $2 billion to Jared Kushner’s new $2.5 billion investment fund in the wake of cozy ties with the Trump administration, The New York Times reported Sunday.
Saudi Arabia’s $620 billion Public Investment Fund made the move despite serious concerns about risks investing in Kushner’s fledgling Affinity Partners investment organization, which he set up last year, according to the Times. Before father-in-law Donald Trump brought him on as a White House senior adviser, Kushner worked as a real estate developer, not an investment fund manager.
Kushner secured the money six months after leaving the White House. But the Saudi panel that supervises investments for the sovereign wealth fund expressed significant concerns about a number of issues, including the “inexperience of the Affinity Partners management” and other “unsatisfactory” aspects of the new company, according to documents obtained by the Times.
The panel was overruled by de facto Saudi leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, friend of Kushner and recipient of significant Trump administration benefits.
The lucrative money ties between the Saudis and Kushner raise serious ethics issues, particularly if Trump becomes president again, but there’s nothing illegal about the relationship.
Trump developed close bonds with the Saudi leadership during his administration while Kushner continued to cultivate a friendship with the crown prince.
Kushner arranged for Trump to make his first trip abroad to a summit in the Saudi capital of Riyadh. Kushner also helped negotiate a hugely controversial agreement for Saudi Arabia to buy billions of dollars worth of American weapons while the nation was bombing civilians in Yemen.
Trump defended bin Salman after the murder and dismemberment of Saudi Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
“I saved his ass,” Trump said of the crown prince in an interview with Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward for his book “Rage.” “I was able to get Congress to leave him alone.”
Bin Salman “will always say that he didn’t do it,” Trump told Woodward. “He says that to everybody, and frankly I’m happy that he says that.”
Trump and his supporters have made much of Hunter Biden’s international work and investments while his father was vice president. But Kushner’s chunk of Saudi money dwarfs anything Hunter Biden is reputed to have collected. Kushner also worked in the White House while he cultivated ties with the Saudis that profited him while he was representing the American public and using taxpayer funds.
A spokesperson for Kushner told the Times that Affinity Partners is “proud” to have the Saudi Public Investment Fund as an investor.
Read the entire Times story here.