Trump Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Raises $2.5 Billion Fund

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(Bloomberg) -- Steven Mnuchin has started his next act with a multibillion-dollar fund for private equity investments.

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Mnuchin, a movie producer and financier before being tapped as U.S. Treasury secretary for the Trump administration, has raised about $2.5 billion at his firm Liberty Strategic Capital, according to people familiar with the matter. Most of the money is from sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, said the people, who asked not to be named because the details are private.

Liberty was founded this year with a focus on technology, financial services and fintech, as well as new forms of content, according to a statement in July announcing a $200 million investment in a cybersecurity business.

A spokesperson for Liberty said the company won’t comment on ongoing fundraising, but it has “a diverse investor base including U.S. insurance companies, family offices, sovereign wealth funds, and other institutional investors.” A representative for the Public Investment Fund didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

The private equity fund marks a step back into investing for Mnuchin, 58, who was one of the rare cabinet members to serve the entirety of President Donald Trump’s four years of office. Prior to joining the government, he started a hedge fund and invested in Hollywood films including “The Lego Movie” and “Suicide Squad.” He also worked for 17 years at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

With his firm Dune Capital Management, Mnuchin led a team of investors that bought mortgage lender IndyMac during the financial crisis, using billions of dollars’ worth of government incentives. The bank was rebranded OneWest and sold in August 2015 for more than double the purchase price.

Relatively unknown outside the world of finance, Mnuchin saw his connections and prominence grow after becoming Treasury secretary in 2017. He managed to stay out of many of the controversial issues that embroiled much of the Trump administration, while helping to engineer tax cuts and the massive stimulus that spared Wall Street from what could have been an economic wrecking ball in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic.

While Mnuchin already had experience raising money and a reputation for being a savvy investor, the Trump administration’s close ties to the Middle East brought him nearer to some of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world. He traveled to the region regularly, visiting countries including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates before leaving the government in January. In 2018, Mnuchin was one of the first Western government officials to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, chair of the Public Investment Fund, in the wake of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

With the return to finance, Mnuchin is following a similar path as Treasury predecessors such as Tim Geithner, who went on to become president of private equity firm Warburg Pincus. Hank Paulson, the former Goldman Sachs chief executive officer who led the Treasury Department during the financial crisis, is now the executive chair of TPG Rise Climate.

Former White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is also looking to raise money for his investment firm Affinity Partners.

Mnuchin is listed on a variety of entities tied to Liberty, investment advisory disclosures show, including Liberty 77 Capital Partners LP, Liberty 77 Fund LP and Liberty 77 Fund International LP. They appear to be a nod to Mnuchin’s prior job: He was the 77th U.S. Treasury secretary.

Other executives at Mnuchin’s Washington-based firm include Brian Callanan, who was general counsel at the Treasury Department, and Jesse Burwell, the filings show.

(Updates with other Liberty executives in final paragraph.)

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