The PGA Tour’s ongoing lawsuit with LIV Golf expanded when the circuit subpoenaed the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia and Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of the fund which is financing the startup league. Both the PIF and Al-Rumayyan claimed the U.S. District Court doesn’t have jurisdiction over a foreign sovereign wealth fund, but the Tour countered late Monday with a supplemental motion.
“PIF and Al-Rumayyan should not be permitted to conduct business in the United States … only to hide behind a shell corporation to evade the jurisdiction of this court,” the motion, which was filed in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California, read.
Both the PIF and Al-Rumayyan have argued they have no control over the day-to-day operations of LIV Golf and therefore shouldn’t have to submit to discovery or be forced to give depositions. But in a heavily redacted motion, the Tour’s attorneys referenced the “Subscriptions and Shareholders Agreement” between the PIF and LIV Golf that outlines LIV’s corporate structure.
Attorneys for the Tour claim that PIF and Al-Rumayyan “misstated their central role in running LIV and making decisions related to this lawsuit” and “strategically withheld” documents that proved their control of the startup league.
“The owners of LIV, Performance 54, and PIF, the Saudi investment fund, were involved in setting this up and using something called Project Wedge, before there was a LIV,” argued Elliot Peters, the lead attorney for the Tour, during a Dec. 16 hearing. “It’s critical that we get discovery from them about their activities, their plans, their expectations, their budget and so on.”
During that hearing, Judge Beth Labson Freeman appeared to agree with the Tour’s argument, stating, “if LIV Golf is controlled by these entities, then LIV Golf is the entity that should be producing these documents. Their failure to do so may give you grounds for seeking a terminating sanction on some of the claims.”