Saudi investment fund fights Senate subcommittee subpoena 

The Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) has asked the leadership of a Senate subcommittee to withdraw subpoenas issued to four of the fund’s U.S.-based consultants, according to people familiar with the matter. new letter This was revealed by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations on Tuesday.

The letter, dated January 12, was sent by Subcommittee Chairman Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Ranking Member Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) to PIF President Yasir Al-Rumayan. It was included as an attachment in Monday’s letter to.

Lawmakers who have investigated PIF’s activities and U.S. investments as a vehicle for foreign influence accused them in a letter Monday of trying to “obstruct” an investigation into PIF’s “proposed acquisition of professional golf in the United States.” He blamed PIF. .

Last June’s announcement that LIV Golf, which receives funding from PIF, and the PGA Tour were in talks to create a new golf monolith caused an uproar in the golf world and Congressional oversight.

As part of its investigation, the Subcommittee obtained documents from McKinsey & Company, M. Klein & Company, Boston Consulting Group, and Teneo Strategy Inc. related to the Subcommittee’s investigation into PIF’s activities in the United States. was summoned.

PIF filed suit in Saudi Arabia last fall against each of the four contractors in what lawmakers described as an attempt to conceal requested records.

“The related services agreement between the Adviser and PIF is governed by Saudi law. To protect confidential information (as well as its legal rights and obligations), PIF does not require the Adviser to produce confidential documents pursuant to the Adviser subpoena. We have filed, and are continuing to file, an emergency application with a Saudi court to block the release of the order,” said Rafael Prober. Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, a partner and advisor to PIF, wrote in a Jan. 12 letter to lawmakers:

But Blumenthal and Johnson refused to back down “absent any legal explanation,” arguing that subpoenaing U.S. companies is “common investigative practice” in congressional investigations.

“The U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to compel information as part of its legislative role, and individuals and entities within the United States are required by law to comply with duly authorized Congressional subpoenas. ,” Blumenthal and Johnson said in Monday’s letter.

“Both PIF’s decision to seek relief through a duly authorized U.S. Congressional subpoena in a foreign forum and PIF’s continued insistence that it only turn over records authorized by PIF consultants contribute to the current impasse. linked.”

Amid increased scrutiny and merger talks, both the PGA Tour and LIV Golf have stepped up their lobbying efforts with the federal government.

The PGA Tour spent $820,000 last year on federal lobbying efforts on issues such as the golf league proposal, an 82% increase from 2022, according to funds from the political watchdog group OpenSecret.

LIV Golf will seek federal spending starting at $230,000 to lobby on issues such as “the game of professional golf in the United States and abroad” and “the right of professional golfers to play when and where they want.” The amount was increased to $560,000.

Akin was appointed to the Department of Justice’s Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) Division in September after a POLITICO report raised questions about his obligation to disclose his activities on behalf of the oil-rich Gulf nation. registered as a foreign agent.

But Akin has registered “in case there is any future lobbying activity,” and the registration “has nothing to do with the Congressional investigation,” a person familiar with the matter told The Hill. Mr. Prober did not register as PIF’s attorney and foreign agent. This is because under FARA there is an exemption for “the disclosed legal representation of a foreign principal before a court, law, or agency of the United States Government.”

Mr. Akin declined to comment. PIF did not respond to requests for comment from The Hill.

“Your attorneys have reiterated PIF’s intent to engage in good faith with the subcommittee, and they reiterated this intent in their most recent letter dated January 12, 2024,” the senators wrote. “You yourself provided similar assurances to Chairman Blumenthal when we met in Saudi Arabia in October 2023. PIF’s actions to date are inconsistent with these assurances. If your desire to engage constructively is sincere, we ask that PIF’s future actions respect your expressed desire to engage in good faith.”

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