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Monday, January 24, 2022

Kushner left empty handed as Qatar refuses to fund new investment firm: reports

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Former White House advisor Jared Kushner is seeking funding from the Gulf for his new investment firm.  

Jared Kushner, advisor and son-in-law to former US President Donald Trump, has looked to the Gulf for financial backing for his new investment firm, only to be met with rejections from investors in the region, a report by the New York Times said.

Kushner has held onto activity in the region through his nonprofit organisation, the Abraham Accords Institute for Peace, that aims to deepen Israel’s relationships in the Middle East.

The former White House advisor played a leading role in creating ties between Israel and the UAE, as well as other Arab states, and supported Emirati rulers in their feud with Doha during the years-long Gulf blockade against Qatar.

Now, Kushner is seeking assistance from sovereign wealth funds in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar to fund his investment firm, Affinity Partners, which was established after Trump lost his re-election bid.

According to sources with knowledge, Qatar declined to invest in Affinity Partners. Emirati sovereign wealth funds also declined to invest, and a person familiar with the talks said Emirati rulers questioned Kushner’s track record in business.

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However, Saudi Arabia has reportedly shown interest, with the kingdom’s $450 billion Public Investment Fund holding negotiations with Kushner over the potential of a fairly large investment in Affinity Partners.

Kushner’s interest in Gulf funding has called for skepticism on his motives in seeking financial backing from the region. Paired with the potential of Trump running for president in 2024, Kushner’s quest for financial support has further raised eyebrows.

Kushner is not the only former White House official from the Trump administration to enter a profitable deal with the administration’s allies in the Gulf after leaving office.

According to the New York Times, sources with knowledge say Trump’s Treasury secretary Steven T. Mnuchin has already received investments from the Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar.

Authorities in Doha have not issued a statement to confirm this.

According to a source familiar with Qatari discussions, officials in Doha had initially feared they may face reprisal if they decline Kushner’s investment offers in the event that Trump or his allies returned to office.

However, Qatar has rejected requests for investment by Kushner’s family in its New York real estate business, and officials from the Gulf state said they suspected that Kushner held this against Qatar when Trump was in office.

In 2017, Trump supported Saudi Arabia and the UAE as it cut off Qatar’s diplomatic and trade ties with the rest of the region in the years-long Gulf blockade

In recent years, with particular focus on the past few months, Qatar has recently strengthened its place as a US ally by supporting the US evacuation from Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover in August.


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