Critics demand investigation of Donald Trump's 'disturbing' Saudi golf payments: report

Critics demand investigation of Donald Trump's 'disturbing' Saudi golf payments: report
Official White House Photo Shealah Craighead.

A pro-democracy group formed by supporters of slain Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi is calling on the Justice Department to investigate former President Donald Trump's payments from the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV golf tournament to host their events at his properties, Newsweek reported on Monday.

"The Democracy for the Arab World Now [DAWN] group has called in the Department of Justice and Congress to look further into the 'disturbing facts and circumstances' surrounding the controversial golf tour and its ties to the former president after new details on its funding were revealed as part of an ongoing lawsuit filed by the PGA against LIV Golf," reported Ewan Palmer.

"On January 13, it was revealed during court proceedings that the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund [PIF], a sovereign wealth fund headed by the country's Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman [MBS], owns 93 percent of LIV and pays 100 percent of the costs associated with its events," said the report. "DAWN claims this is the first time that the full extent of PIF's ownership of LIV Golf has been disclosed."

Sarah Leah Whitson, the executive director of DAWN, said in a statement, "The revelation that a fund controlled by Crown Prince MBS actually owns almost all of LIV Golf means that MBS has been paying Donald Trump unknown millions for the past two years, via their mutual corporate covers."

MBS, who has long sought to create a more liberal image and brand for Saudi Arabia publicly, has simultaneously doubled down on repressive policies, most notoriously ordering the murder of Khashoggi in a Turkish embassy, although he denies involvement. The LIV event has been broadly accused of being a public relations stunt to whitewash Saudi Arabia's human rights record.

Trump is not alone in profiting off Middle East ventures within his family. His son-in-law Jared Kushner also received $2 billion from the Saudi wealth fund for his own investment company, with MBS approving the deal over objections from his own fund managers.

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