Mnuchin private equity fund raises $ 2.5 billion
WASHINGTON – Steven Mnuchin has raised $ 2.5 billion in his new private equity fund, people familiar with the matter say, attracting investment from sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, where he has a lot traveled as Secretary of the Treasury.
The fund was started earlier this year by Mr. Mnuchin, who served as treasury secretary to former President Donald J. Trump throughout his tenure, and focuses on investments in technology and financial services. Earlier this summer, Mnuchin opened an office in Tel Aviv, Israel, and raised funds from the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund.
The fundraiser was reported earlier by Bloomberg News.
Former Goldman Sachs banker, film investor and hedge fund manager, Mr. Mnuchin now relies on the experience – and contacts – he has developed at the Treasury to continue to develop his wealth. When he took on the role of Treasury in 2017, his net worth was estimated to be around $ 400 million.
The scale of Mr Mnuchin’s fund and his investments in the countries he traveled to as Treasury Secretary has raised questions as to whether he used his role in government to enrich himself.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a watchdog group, filed a lawsuit this year seeking information about the cost of Mr. Mnuchin’s trip to the Middle East, where he visited extensively during his tenure.
“Mnuchin should have made no official decision based on how he might profit from it after he left office – if he did, he should be held accountable,” the group said.
As Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. Mnuchin led the economic policies of the Trump administration, helping shape the Republican tax cuts of 2017 and representing the United States in numerous international forums. The tax law ultimately did not eliminate the special treatment of “interest held” that benefits hedge fund managers and private equity executives after intense lobbying pressure from the industry.
Mr. Mnuchin has also spent considerable time focusing on sanctions policy and has made annual trips to the Middle East as part of efforts to establish a Riyadh-based terrorist financing targeting center. While in Saudi Arabia, Mnuchin made several visits to the Future Investment Initiative, a business conference known as Davos in the Desert and hosted by the Public Investment Fund.
In January 2021, less than two weeks before stepping down, Mnuchin traveled to Saudi Arabia to meet with his finance minister and discuss the fight against terrorism and illicit financing. The trip to the Middle East, which also included stops in Egypt, Sudan, Israel, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, was cut short amid Mr. Trump’s chaotic transition process.
Mr. Mnuchin returned to the Middle East this year while setting up his fund.
During a trip to Israel in June, he told the Jerusalem Post that he was setting up an office there due to the country’s strength in the cybersecurity and financial technology sectors, which will be the priorities of the government. funds.
“We hope to be considered one of the best strategic partners in these areas,” Mnuchin told The Jerusalem Post.
In July, Mr. Mnuchin’s fund, Liberty Strategic Capital, made a $ 275 million investment in Cybereason, a cybersecurity firm that focuses on ransomware attacks.
Some former Treasury officials have joined Mr. Mnuchin’s new venture. These include Eli Miller, his former chief of staff, and Brian Callanan, who served as general counsel. Joseph F. Dunford, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is also a senior advisor.
A spokesperson for Liberty did not comment on the state of fundraising.
Ethics groups have also paid attention to the cost of Mr. Mnuchin’s travel since he left office, as he continued to enjoy Secret Service protection for an additional six months.
The Washington Post reported last week that the federal government paid secret service agents thousands of dollars to protect Mr. Mnuchin during his summer trips to Israel and Qatar, where he stayed at the St. Regis Doha. .