Senate committee wants cooperation from Saudis in proposed deal with PGA Tour

A Senate subcommittee investigating the PGA Tour’s proposed deal with the Saudi backers of LIV Golf wants documents from four U.S. consulting firms for the Public Investment Fund. The committee has asked the Saudi fund's governor to stop blocking the inquiry.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., is chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. He and Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., and a ranking committee member, accused Yasir Al-Rumayyan of filing lawsuits against the consulting firms in a Saudi court in November to prevent them from responding to subpoenas.

The letter was sent Monday, the start of a week in which the PGA Tour is likely to finalize a domestic deal with a group of U.S. investors wanting to take part in the tour’s new commercial enterprise.

“The subpoenas to the PIF Consultants were issued after months during which you, the PIF, and the PIF Consultants repeatedly declined to voluntarily testify or provide any substantive, responsive information or records to the Subcommittee,” the letter said.

Blumenthal’s office released the letter Tuesday. The consultants for PIF are Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey & Company, M. Klein & Company and Teneo.

The congressional inquiry stems from the June 6 agreement between the PGA Tour, European tour and the PIF to be part of a for-profit company, in which PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan would be the CEO and Al-Rumayyan would be the chairman.

Since then, the PGA Tour received interest from several private equity groups and settled on Strategic Sports Group, comprised mainly of U.S. sports team owners. An announcement on that deal could come by the end of the week.

Blumenthal held the first of two public hearings on July 11.

The letter said after the committee tried unsuccessfully to get information from the PIF consultants, it issued subpoenas to all four firms. The senators said the PIF sued in Saudi court on Nov. 30 to keep the consultants from complying.

The senators cited a Jan. 12 letter from Al-Rumayyan in which he asked the committee to reconsider its pursuit of information from the consultants.

“What is unprecedented here is the PIF’s repeated attempts to hamper this Subcommittee’s inquiry,” the letter said.

The senators said Al-Rumayyan chose not to testify at the July 11 hearing because of a scheduling conflict, and then declared he was an inappropriate witness for a public hearing. They said the PIF declined requests for additional information on July 27 and Aug. 16.


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