Jared Kushner, who worked closely with Arab states on behalf of the US government and his father-in-law, then-President Donald Trump, is looking to the Persian Gulf to raise money for his new investment firm — a move that has ethics watchdogs on high alert.
The New York Times reports that Kushner, the former CEO of Kushner Properties and husband of Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, has sought investments from such sovereign wealth funds as those in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar to finance his Miami-based investment firm, Affinity Partners, which he established after Trump lost his re-election bid.
The inquires have raised ethical questions considering Kushner is attempting to enlist the help of foreign officials he had dealt with as an employee of the US Government less than a year ago — on top of the fact Trump is hinting he’ll run again for president in 2024.
“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,” Nick Penniman, the head of Issue One, a good-government organization in Washington, told the Times. “Is it swampy and seemingly hypocritical? Yes.”
The Times reports that Kushner was shot down by Qatar and the UAE, but got luckier with the Saudis, who have a $450 billion Public Investment Fund that could add a considerable chunk of change to his coffers.
Before working for former President Trump, Kushner ran his family’s real estate company, where he famously purchased 666 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan for $1.8 billion in 2007, just before the recession hit. He was also the owner and publisher of the New York Observer for 10 years.
While on the White House staff, Kushner worked on deals known as the Abraham Accords which sought to open diplomatic relationships with Israel and Arab states.
Kushner isn’t the only Trump official to turn to countries in the Persian Gulf for financing. Former Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin has obtained investments from the Qataris, the Emiratis and the Saudis, the Times reports.