Saudi Arabia is contesting a federal magistrate’s ruling that its sovereign fund and the governor of the fund be required to provide documents or testimony in LIV Golf’s antitrust lawsuit against PGA Tour.
On Thursday, attorneys for the kingdom filed an objection letter challenging the reasons that a magistrate judge gave for allowing subpoenas to the Public Investment Funds governor Yasir alRumayyan.
The letter was addressed to U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman who is currently overseeing the case in Northern District of California.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan van Keulen ruled that the PIF and al-Rumayyan were not protected under the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act due to a commercial activity exception.
LIVs argument, that al-Rumayyan and the PIF provided broad oversight of the rival league, is the core of the dispute. According to the PGA Tour documents discovered during discovery, they were actively involved with signing players to LIV Golf.
According to court documents the PIF holds 93% of the LIV Golf. The signing fees paid to players over the last year are reported to have exceeded $100 million. Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka Bryson deChambeau.
Van Keulen also suggested that the PIF would have waived immunity if it allowed LIV Golf to sue PGA Tour.
LIV Golf was banned by the PGA Tour from participating in its events. Nine players — Mickelson and DeChambeau included — filed an antitrust case on Aug. LIV Golf quickly joined the lawsuit and only three players, DeChambeau, declined to participate. Peter Uihlein Matt Jones— Continue to be plaintiffs
Her reasoning has broad implications for Saudi Arabia beyond the instant case, said the letter, filed by the Washington law firm of Kellogg, Hansen, Todd, Figel & Frederick.
The letter stated that van Keulens ruling had found that alRumayyan, a minister of Saudi Arabias government, satisfied the requirements for common law foreign official immunity. However that law also has a commercial-activity exception.
The letter stated that Saudi Arabia would also be affected if it was recognized as an exception to common law foreign official immunity.
Al-Rumayyan and the PIF claim that enforcing U.S. subpoenas would force them into violation of Saudi law against the disclosure of confidential information.
Saudi Arabia stated in the letter that it would file a friend-of court brief. It would include interpretations and enforcement of Saudi Arabian law.
Freeman ruled that the PGA Tour could add al-Rumayyan and the PIF to its countersuit.