Jared Kushner Gets Big Wet $2 Billion Kiss From Saudi Prince
Last night the New York Times broke the news that Vanky's babydaddy secured a $2 billion investment from the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund over the objections of its entire board of advisers.
The deal went through last summer, which means Jared Kushner must have been pitching it more or less from the second he left the White House. Could it have started even earlier? Remember that Kush wasn't there for the January 6 funtimes because he was on a plane back from Saudi Arabia. But, please, let's talk more about the massive scandal of Hunter Biden's laptop.
The Times reports that the four eminently qualified board members of the Saudi Public Investment Fund evaluated the proposal to invest $2 billion in Kushner's new private equity firm Affinity Fund, and universally panned the deal. From “the inexperience of the Affinity Fund management” — i.e. Kush has never run money before and his experience in real estate is, uh, mixed — to the 80 percent stake in Affinity that the $2 billion Saudi investment represents, the team conducting due diligence found the plan “unsatisfactory in all aspects" and likely to lead to a public relations nightmare.
The team dubbed the Kushner bid "Project Astro," perhaps in a nod to Astro, the big, dumb dog on the 1960s cartoon "The Jetsons" that belonged to the blond, overeager son Elroy. If so, then clearly the team never thought much of the proposal to park $2 billion of the Fund's $620 billion corpus with the former White House coronavirus/opioid/tech/Mexico/Middle East czar. And yet it was approved anyway, because it would help Saudi Arabia “capitalize on the capabilities of Affinity’s founders’ deep understanding of different government policies and geopolitical systems.” Which is a long way of saying they think Trump might get back in the White House, and they want to keep Jared sweet.
Plus he did them a whole passel of favors during his time as White House princeling. Like the time he convinced his dimwit father-in-law to get behind the Saudi blockade of Qatar, a country with 10,000 American troops on the ground. Or when he made sure we kept selling them arms for the war in Yemen, despite the massive humanitarian catastrophe there and MBS sending a team of assassins to murder American resident and Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. And along the way, he made sure the White House said not a single word about MBS kidnapping and hacking the phones of his critics, jailing women who demanded the right to drive, the Saudis' role in overthrowing the Lebanese prime minister, and MBS locking up hundreds of members of his own family in 2018 and using various methods of persuasion to get them to hand over their cash.
The Saudis' own fixer George Nader referred to the "Clown prince" and snarked that “Nobody would even waste cup of coffee on him if it wasn’t for who he is married to.” And he certainly seems to have come up empty on raising money in America.
The explanation for the absence of any American institutional investors in Mr. Kushner’s fund was that he “would like to avoid media attention,” the written responses said. “Accordingly, Affinity has approached international investors on a very discreet basis.”
And in case there was any doubt about Kush getting a big wet kiss from his buddy MBS, compare the terms of the Affinity deal with those for former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. We are no fans of Munch at this here mommyblog, but the guy does have real money management and private equity experience, and he only got a billion Saudi-bux. Plus Kush got a 1.25 percent management fee, which the due diligence team called "excessive," where Mnuchin's Liberty Strategic Capital only gets one percent.
But at the end of the day, it appears the only voice that matters in Saudi Arabia wants to bet on the Trump family, and so the wider board overruled the team's objections, even refusing to cut back to a more reasonable $1 billion.
“This investment aims to form a strategic relationship with the Affinity Partners Fund and its founder, Jared Kushner,” a fund staffer told a board member, warning that giving Kush less cash than he asked for “may negatively or fundamentally affect the framework of the agreed strategic and commercial relationship.”
Subtle as a bonesaw.
Follow Liz Dye on Twitter!
Click the widget to keep your Wonkette ad-free and feisty. And if you're ordering from Amazon, use this link, because reasons.
Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.