Officials who oversee Saudi Arabia’s tens of billions of dollars in U.S. investments haven’t been shy about flaunting their ties with top American business and political figures, down to wearing MAGA caps as they swing golf clubs alongside former President Donald Trump. But they’ve been silent about many of the details of these relationships.
That’s changing as a result of a federal lawsuit in California pitting the Saudi-owned golf tour upstart LIV against the PGA Tour. A judge, citing what she described as the kingdom’s hands-on management of LIV, found that when it came to the new golf league, Saudi officials and the Saudi government aren’t shielded from U.S. courts the way sovereign nations usually are.
While Saudi Arabia is fighting the decision, insisting U.S. courts have no jurisdiction over its high officials, the ruling means lawyers for the PGA Tour would be able to question top officials about business secrets that the Saudis have held close, such as details of deal-making involving 2024 presidential candidate Trump and others.
U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman found that the Saudis had smacked up against a commercial exception to U.S. laws on sovereign immunity. [Continue reading…]