The UAE and Qatar have invested about $400 million in Jared Kushner’s private equity firm, the New York Times reported, adding to the over $2 billion already invested by Saudi Arabia.
Kushner, 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 has worked he 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 a report Thursday, particularly given his lack of venture capital experience.
The report cited two sources familiar with internal discussions in Qatar, who said that if Kushner and Trump returned to the White House after the 2024 US elections, Doha was concerned that it would be treated “unfavorably” by Washington if it did not invest in the cake.
By investing in Kushner’s firm, Doha and Abu Dhabi may seek to maintain warm relations with Trump and his team, and the possibility of his re-election in the 2024 US presidential campaign.
In a controversial move in 2018, a company linked to the Qatari royal family helped to foreclose on a debt-ridden New York tower owned by Kushner.
Kushner has not yet confirmed whether he will play a role in any future Trump White House, although he was seated in the front row at Trump’s campaign launch event at the Mar-Lago estate in Florida.
Qatar and the UAE operate large sovereign wealth funds worth 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 get investment from Saudi Arabia.
“Your close relationship with [Saudi] Crown Prince Mohamad bin Salman, your pro-Saudi positions during the Trump administration, and the decision of the Public Investment Fund to finance the share of your new business – just six months after the end of your tenure in the White House seem to create a quid. pro quo regarding your work on foreign policy,” the committee chairman wrote in a letter to Kushner before Republicans regained control of the house and ended the investigation.
Kushner has denied all allegations of impropriety.
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 agreements, as a partner in his investment firm. Berkowitz is known for his close relationship with senior Gulf officials, some of whom attended his February wedding in Abu Dhabi, which Kushner also attended.