ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 138

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Saudi Arabia made initial $2 billion investment into fund

Kushner’s private equity firm said to receive hundreds of millions from UAE, Qatar

Timing, scale of deals lead to criticism from Democrats, ethics experts; Doha said to fear it would face unfavorable treatment if Trump returns to White House and it didn’t invest

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner listens as he attends a working breakfast with President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner listens as he attends a working breakfast with President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The UAE and Qatar have invested approximately $400 million in Jared Kushner’s private equity firm, the New York Times reported, adding to the more than $2 billion already invested by Saudi Arabia.

Kushner, an adviser and son-in-law of former US president Donald Trump, launched Affinity Partners soon after leaving the White House in 2020. The firm is largely supported by Kushner’s close contacts in the Arab world, with whom he worked closely during his time in the White House.

But the timing and scale of Kushner’s business deals have drawn criticism from Democrats and ethics experts, The Times said in its Thursday report, particularly given his lack of experience in venture capital.

The report cited two sources familiar with internal deliberations in Qatar, who said that, should Kushner and Trump return to the White House after the 2024 US elections, Doha was concerned it would face “unfavorable treatment” from Washington if it did not invest in the fund.

By investing in Kushner’s firm, Doha and Abu Dhabi may be seeking to maintain warm relations with Trump and his staff, with the possibility of his reelection in the 2024 US presidential campaign.

In a controversial 2018 deal, a company linked to the Qatari royal family helped bail out a debt-ridden New York tower owned by Kushner.

From left, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Jared Kushner, Eric Trump, and Lara Trump applaud as former US president Donald Trump announces he is running for president for the third time as he speaks at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, November 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Kushner has not yet confirmed whether he will play a role in any future Trump White House, though he was seated in the front row at Trump’s campaign launch event at the Mar-Lago estate in Florida.

Both Qatar and the UAE operate large sovereign wealth funds valued in the hundreds of billions of dollars. Abu Dhabi’s recent investment came from its sovereign wealth fund, but the source of the Qatari investment was unclear, the report said.

The Times noted that while it is not uncommon for former White House staff to leverage networks established during their diplomatic tenure for personal business interests, the speed and scale of Kushner’s moves rang alarm bells.

Last year, the US House Committee on Oversight and Reform opened an investigation into whether Kushner leveraged US foreign policy to secure investment from Saudi Arabia.

“Your close relationship with [Saudi] Crown Prince Mohamad bin Salman, your pro-Saudi positions during the Trump administration, and the Public Investment Fund’s decision to fund the lion’s share of your new business venture — only six months after the end of your White House tenure create the appearance of a quid pro quo for your foreign policy work,” the committee chair wrote in a letter to Kushner before the Republicans regained control of the house and shut down the investigation.

Kushner denied all accusations of impropriety.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, right, meets with senior advisor to the US President, Jared Kushner in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, September 1, 2020. (Saudi Press Agency via AP)

Kushner was instrumental in negotiating the Abraham Accords — the normalization agreements Israel signed with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan in 2020.

Kushner appointed Avi Berkowitz, a young US diplomat who played a key role in negotiating the accords, as a partner in his investment firm. Berkowitz is known for his close ties to senior Gulf officials, some of whom attended his February wedding in Abu Dhabi, also attended by Kushner.

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