Former Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin launches an investment fund that seeks to support Arab Gulf states

Former Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin launches an investment fund that seeks to support Arab Gulf states

The United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia control some of the largest investment funds in the region. Depending To the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute that tracks these types of funds.

Mnuchin did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mnuchin has traveled a lot to the Middle East throughout the Trump administration, most often in connection with the Treasury’s mandate to combat terrorist financing abroad. In the final weeks of the Trump administration, while Washington was teetering from the riots that took place on January 6 at the US Capitol building and questions littered over whether the Trump government would try to remove him from power, Mnuchin was swinging diplomatically across the Middle East and Africa visiting Sudan and Egypt, Israel, The The United Arab EmiratesAnd the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. And he had planned to visit Kuwait as well, But the journey is short In the aftermath of the riots.

Mnuchin also visited the area in October to Enhancing business relationships In the wake of the Abraham accords that led to the normalization of relations between Israel and several Arab countries. Mnuchin and Jared Kushner, an advisor to former President Donald Trump and son-in-law, helped organize the Bahrain Conference in 2019 that helped reach the Ibrahim Accords.

Mnuchin Travel to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia He met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in October 2018, despite widespread suspicion that the Saudi king had ordered the brutal killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi just weeks earlier. central Intelligence Agency Later concluded Muhammad ordered the assassination.

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Trump was a staunch supporter of the crown prince, and viewed Saudi Arabia and allied countries like the United Arab Emirates as primary partners in an effort to counter Iran in the region. Trump card Congressional efforts were blocked To stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia and Paid through arms sales To the United Arab Emirates despite bipartisan opposition in Congress.

Trump also withdrew from the multilateral nuclear deal with Iran that the Obama administration negotiated, and Followed “maximum pressure” A campaign targeting Iran’s few remaining links to the international financial system. Renewed sanctions have helped destroy the Iranian economy and raised concerns about Iran’s ability to import humanitarian goods in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump administration It also officially endorsed this behavior The UAE and Saudi Arabia in the Yemeni civil war, prompting criticism from democrats and human rights groups that it is ignoring attacks on civilians and deepening the humanitarian crisis.

“Hundreds of thousands of people have died in Yemen because of the Trump administration’s relationship with the Saudi and Emirati governments. It would be terrible if he or other Trump officials were to take advantage of this now,” said Mark Weisprot, an economist at the Center for Economic and Political Research.

An ethics expert said that although it is unclear whether Mnuchin will seek funds from the Saudi or Emirati governments, his planned investment efforts, which come soon after leaving office, raise concerns about whether the Trump administration’s policy may. Influenced by Mnuchin’s future pursuits.

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“The fact that there are favorable policies for countries that may now benefit him in a business matter of concern raises questions about whether the potential for future commercial interests influenced the decision-making process, even if there was no such thing,” said Noah Bookbinder, President of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics at Washington, a non-profit watchdog group.

Following in the footsteps of other former senior government officials, Mnuchin has put himself on the talking point since leaving the Treasury, and plans to collect $ 250,000 to speak in person. Reported by Bloomberg News last week.

Mnuchin’s successor, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, has received more than $ 7 million in speaking fees over two years from banks and major corporations, according to her. Financial disclosure form.

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