The hits keep coming for LIV Golf and the Public Investment Fund in U.S. federal court.
Last week a judge ruled against the “sovereign immunity” claim by the PIF and its governor, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, a serious blow to LIV and its financial backer in its antitrust case against the PGA Tour.
On Tuesday, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled the PGA Tour will be able to add the PIF and Al-Rumayyan as defendants in its countersuit against LIV, dragging the financiers deeper into the judicial weeds.
Judge also to unseal and make public LIV Golf documents that sealed Saudi’s fate as a party—showing how deeply the Public Investment Fund and Al-Rumayyan were involved in the new circuit’s operations https://t.co/xiZaZFPyjb
— Jodi Balsam (@JodiBalsam) February 22, 2023
The original lawsuit was filed in August by Phil Mickelson and went on to include 10 other golfers, but has since been taken over by LIV Golf, which is almost exclusively financed by the PIF (aside from its newly announced first global partner). The wealth fund, organized in 1971 as a means for the Saudi Arabian government to invest in various projects and companies, has been estimated to be worth over $650 billion.
LIV Golf has long been criticized as a way for the Kingdom to sportswash its human rights record with guaranteed money and multi-million dollar deals. Saudi Arabia has been accused of wide-ranging human rights abuses, including politically motivated killings, torture, forced disappearances and inhumane treatment of prisoners. And members of the royal family and Saudi government were accused of involvement in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist.