United States President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner’s proximity to Saudi Arabia is well documented, and when Qatar discovered that they might have unintentionally bailed out a building owned by Kushner’s family, it created a bit of a stink. Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman counts Jared Kushner among his key advisors. Considering the fact that Saudi Arabia was responsible for the boycott of Qatar and Kushner is close to the Saudis, the Gulf nation has now decided to revamp its investment strategy. The Saudis had accused Qatar of financing terrorist activities.
Qatar has used its considerable wealth in investments throughout the world, and all of it is managed by the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), one of the world’s biggest sovereign wealth funds. The fund manages around $320 as of today, and much of its money for real estate investment has been placed with the Canadian property investor Brookfield Asset Management. It has now emerged that in 2018, Brookfield completed a deal in which the Kushner family’s imperiled tower located on Fifth Avenue was bailed out. In 2007, Kushner’s family had acquired the tower for $1.8 billion, but that expenditure severely hamstrung the business. The debts mounted and it was only in 2018 that Brookfield came up with a package to take it off their hands. Although the financial details of the deal have not been disclosed, Brookfield apparently got a 99-year lease on the tower and made the entire payment at one go.
It has come as a source of consternation in Qatar, and although no one at QIA made any comment, it has now become clear that a change in investment strategy is going to be implemented. Broadly, the powers that be in Qatar have now decided that the QIA is only going to put its money with investment vehicles over which they have some sort of control. A source who spoke to Reuters, said, “Qatar started looking into how its name got involved into the deal and found out it was because of a fund it co-owned. So QIA ultimately triggered a strategy revamp.”
The QIA owns 9% of Brookfield Asset Management, but the deal was down through a subsidiary known as Bookfield Property Partners. The shift in strategy was apparently decided upon by the authorities in Qatar last year, but it is important to note that a change in strategy from the QIA could have far-reaching consequences at a global level. The sovereign wealth fund has been responsible for billions of dollars in investment in the United States and Europe over the past decade, or so and hence, this change in strategy is going to be watched closely by people across the world. The QIA had also engineered bailouts for banks in the United Kingdom and Switzerland at the height of the financial crisis back in 2008.