Jared Kushner cashes in on White House role by raising $3B for Middle East-focused investment firm
Jared Kushner on Fox News (screengrab)

Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, who took a special interest in the Middle East during his time in the White House, has raised billions for a new global investment firm focused on the same region.

Kushner launched the Miami-based Affinity Partners in July after deciding to step away from politics.

On Thursday, Reuters reported that Affinity Partners has raised more than $3 billion in committed funding from international investors.

"Kushner plans to invest in American and Israeli companies that are looking for international expansion opportunities in India, Africa, the Middle East and other parts of Asia," according to Reuters. "At the Trump White House, Kushner helped broker deals between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco in a six-month flurry last year. ... Kushner hopes to create 'an investment corridor' between Israel and Saudi Arabia, by working with Israeli and Gulf companies and investors."

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The names of specific investors were not disclosed, but the New York Times reported last month that Kushner was trying to raise money from the same Persian Gulf monarchies with which he worked during the Trump administration.

"He formed a personal friendship with the crown prince of Saudi Arabia," the NYT reported. "He helped forge ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, and backed Emirati rulers in a feud with Qatar. Since the electoral defeat of his father-in-law, former President Donald J. Trump, Mr. Kushner has stayed active in the region through a nonprofit organization he established. Now, in a move that has raised eyebrows among diplomats, investors and ethics watchdogs, Mr. Kushner is trying to raise money from the Persian Gulf states for a new investment firm he has founded."

At the time, the NYT reported that Kushner was having "mixed success." For example, Emirati rulers "saw Mr. Kushner as an ally but questioned his track record in business, according to a person with knowledge of the discussions."

"But the Saudis are more interested, according to four people briefed on their continuing negotiations," the NYT reported. "The kingdom’s $450 billion Public Investment Fund is negotiating with Mr. Kushner over what could prove to be a sizable investment in his new firm, two of those people said."

The NYT noted that Kushner is not the only former Trump administration official who's been raising money from the Saudis.

"Steven T. Mnuchin, Mr. Trump’s Treasury secretary, has already received investments from the Saudis, the Emiratis and the Qataris, according to people familiar with the matter," the NYT reported. "Other former advisers and employees have also actively sought money from the Saudis."

Nick Penniman, founder of the good-government organization Issue One, told the NYT: “When former White House officials start cashing in their time served with our government by cozying up to monarchs, it turns the stomach a bit. Is it illegal? No. Is it swampy and seemingly hypocritical? Yes.”