Funds raised by Jared Kushner from Saudi Arabia will soon be invested directly in Israeli hi-tech firms, the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday in an exclusive report.
Kushner, former U.S. President Donald Trump's top aide and son-in-law, set up private equity fund Affinity Partners after leaving the White House. The firm has raised up to $3 billion – some $2 billion from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign-wealth fund, among the largest sovereign funds in the world.
Kushner’s firm has already selected two Israeli hi-tech firms to invest in, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing “people familiar with the investment plan.”
The investment, the WSJ said, was “the first known instance that the Saudi Public Investment Fund’s cash will be directed to Israel, a sign of the kingdom’s increasing willingness to do business with the country, even though they have no diplomatic relations.”
It is unknown who the two firms are or what sector they are active in.
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At the Trump White House, Kushner helped broker deals between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco in a six-month wave of normalizing ties in 2020. Kushner, Reuters reported last year when first revealing his fund’s existence, hopes to use Affinity Partners to create "an investment corridor" between Israel and Saudi Arabia.
The New York Times reported last month that the Saudi official fund’s board was initially reluctant to invest in the firm, citing concerns over its management’s experience, but was overruled by Saudi Arabia’s ruler Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman who has a good relationship with Kushner.
The Abraham Accords ushered in a boom in bilateral trading between Israel and Gulf states, predominantly the United Arab Emirates. One year after the accords were signed, Israel said it expected to have about $3 billion in trade volume with the UAE by 2024 – far below the UAE's $24 billion of exports in 2019 to its top destination, Saudi Arabia. The UAE and Israel had between $600 million and $700 million in bilateral trade, UAE officials said at the time.