An organization founded by supporters of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi believes that Donald Trump should be subject to an investigation regarding the cash he received for hosting the LIV Golf tour, which was sponsored by Saudi Arabia, at his facilities.
Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN) has asked the Department of Justice and Congress to look into the “disturbing facts and circumstances” surrounding the golf tour and its ties to the former president. This is because new information about the tour’s funding was made public as part of a lawsuit that the PGA is still bringing against LIV Golf.
The Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF), a sovereign wealth fund run by the nation’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), was revealed to own 93 percent of LIV and cover all of the expenses related to its events on January 13 during court proceedings.
LIV Golf was established in 2021, however, it has come under fire for claims that the Saudi Arabian government is using it as a means of “sports washing.”
The relationship between the tournament and Crown Prince Salman has also drawn attention, as the U.S. has accused him of giving the go-ahead for Khashoggi’s murder in 2018, a claim that the Saudi government has refuted.
The fact that Trump hosted other LIV Golf competitions at his facilities, including his club in Bedminster, New Jersey, in July 2022, drew criticism as well. After the former president declared his ambition to run for office again in 2024, DAWN has now called for an investigation into the financial deals he made to organize the LIV Golf events.
“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,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of DAWN.
“The national security implications of payments from a grotesquely abusive foreign dictator to a president of the United States who provided extraordinary favors to him are as dangerous as they are shocking.”
The former president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner’s Affinity Fund received a $2 billion investment from PIF, and Trump’s former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s Liberty Strategic Capital company received a $1 billion investment, according to DAWN, which lists some of the “favors” allegedly agreed upon between Trump and Prince Salman.
The DoJ and Congress are also being urged by DAWN to investigate into how long ago discussions regarding the former president and his real estate firm, The Trump Organization, hosting LIV tournaments at his resort were.
“If Trump or his agents discussed any deals with LIV Golf or PIF while Trump was still in office, a criminal investigation would also be in order because federal law strictly prohibits this sort of business dealing by sitting federal officials with foreign governments,” said Whitson.
“Given that Trump is also planning to run again for president, his business ties to Mohammed bin Salman are a national security emergency.”
The LIV Golf series has generated a big schism in the golfing industry, with a number of prominent professionals such as Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy condemning the tournament, while others such as Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson signed up to play in the lucrative circuit. Players from LIV Golf were subsequently prohibited from competing in PGA Tour events and other major competitions.
The PGA filed a complaint against LIV Golf, alleging that the Saudi-funded organization had interfered with the contracts of its players.
DAWN was formed up in 2020 hoping to promote human rights and democracy in the Arab world, a purpose previously dear to Khashoggi.