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Saudi PIF advisers may face prison time if they comply with U.S. probe

Saudi PIF advisers may face prison time if they comply with U.S. probe

The direct litigation involving the PGA Tour, LIV Golf and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund was put aside with last June’s framework agreement, but there are still plenty of lawsuits surrounding the controversial dealings between the entities.

The PIF’s governor and LIV Golf chairman, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, is allegedly facing a $74 million lawsuit in Canadian court, and on Wednesday Bloomberg reported the Kingdom has threatened to imprison not only bankers but also consultants it has worked with if they choose to cooperate with the United States government as it continues to investigate the agreement. Back in November, the PIF sued its advisers in Saudi court to block any submission of information to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

Both the Department of Justice and U.S. Senate have held a keen interest in the talks between the Tour and PIF, the financial backers of LIV Golf, over the last seven months. On Feb. 6, the committee held a hearing in Washington, D.C., that featured PIF consultants Paul Keary (Teneo Strategy), Michael Klein (M. Klein & Co.), Rich Lesser (Boston Consulting Group) and Bob Sternfels (McKinsey).

“The PIF has been explicit that the disclosure of information relating to BCG’s work for PIF is a violation of Saudi law, which ‘imposes criminal penalties for disclosing or disseminating such information including imprisonment for a maximum of 20 years,’” Lesser said. “We risk criminal and financial penalties for the firm and for individuals working or living in Saudi Arabia.”

MORE: Al-Rumayyan updates players on future investment in PGA Tour

“This represents aberrant behavior for a client, and, quite frankly, for the PIF, who has historically been a client that has operated with best practices of governance with us,” added Klein, one of the PIF’s top advisers.

The committee took issue with the fact that the four advisers have not fully cooperated with the investigation and that the firms, according to Bloomberg, “have only provided a fraction of the documents demanded in a congressional subpoena.” Senate records detailed that the information submitted largely consisted of calendar invites with redacted names, publicly available records and news clippings.

“It’s simply staggering to me that American companies are not only willing to accept this claim, allowing the Saudi government to determine what is permitted to provide this subcommittee — but also that they…


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