Saudi Governor Al-Rumayyan Refuses to Testify Before U.S. Congress
The governor of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), Yasir Al-Rumayyan, has once again declined to testify before the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, making it clear that he has no intention to do so.
Previously asked to testify alongside LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman but failing to appear in July due to scheduling conflicts, Al-Rumayyan received another request from Senator Blumenthal (D-Conn.) to testify on September 13th or propose alternative dates by August 18th. However, in response, Al-Rumayyan’s lawyers sent a letter to Senator Blumenthal, asserting legal arguments as to why he will not testify.
The letter highlighted concerns regarding “sovereignty and international comity” and deemed Al-Rumayyan an “inappropriate witness,” as reported by the Golf Channel. Interestingly, the PIF had previously attempted to use these same sovereignty issues in an antitrust case in California, but their claims were dismissed by two district court judges.
Senator Blumenthal provided a response, pointing out that U.S. law exempts certain commercial activities from sovereign immunity. He stated that information pertaining to “typical investor activities” was not considered confidential and would not adversely affect Saudi Arabia. Blumenthal emphasized that PIF’s intent to benefit from the U.S. market diminished any sovereign considerations. The senator warned that if Al-Rumayyan continued to refuse compliance voluntarily, the subcommittee would explore other legal methods to compel PIF’s compliance.
The deal between the PGA Tour and Saudi PIF, which aimed to create a for-profit golf organization combining the DP World Tour and LIV Golf, has raised concerns of sports washing from Saudi Arabia, prompting a Congressional investigation. As this story continues to unfold, it remains uncertain whether the deal will ever come to fruition.
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