Former Korn Manager Jeff Kwatinetz Claims He + Ice Cube Were Involved in Bizarre Political Bribery Plot
Jeff Kwatinetz, the former CEO of television and music management company The Firm -- which handled the careers of Korn, Limp Bizkit, Smashing Pumpkins and other major artists -- insists he and hip-hop star Ice Cube were inadvertently caught up in a political bribery scandal.
The major players in the alleged plot are the Qatari government, former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn and ex-Donald Trump Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, all of whom are named in an affidavit filed in Los Angeles on Tuesday (May 15) by Kwatinetz and Cube.
The two plaintiffs claim they were taken advantage of by the Qataris in an effort to gain sympathy from Washington. Kwatinetz and Cube filed suit for $1.2 billion, insisting they were promised, but never received, $20.5 in investment money for their BIG3 3-on-3 basketball league.
The affidavit says the Qatari investors used their money and connections with Kwatinetz (Cube's longtime business partner) and the rapper to "get positive public relations for Qatar."
In the suit, the pair claim they were paid just $7.5 million by the investors, who didn't seem to care about the new basketball league. The Qataris were far more interested in Bannon -- who used to be Kwatinetz's partner at The Firm -- and the other political players in Washington.
Kwatinetz has called Bannon a "brilliant" businessman with "great character," reports the New York Post.
Defendants in the case include CEO of the Qatari Investment Authority, Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani — and ex- Qatari diplomat Ahmed al Rumaihi -- who allegedly both worked for the Qatari government as secret liaisons.
According to the affidavit, "After making partial payment to the BIG3, there were numerous occasions during the 2017 season, where Mr. Al-Ruhmaihi would bring up Mr. Bannon’s name to me and comment about Mr. Bannon’s political positions, his views on the blockade, the Trump administrations position toward Qatar, and he persistently inquired about wanting to meet with Mr. Bannon,” Kwatinetz says in the affidavit. “Mr. Al-Rumaihi requested I set up a meeting between him, the Qatari government, and Steven Bannon, and to tell Steve Bannon that Qatar would underwrite all of his political efforts in return for his support.”
Kwatinetz says he was “appalled” at the idea of receiving “a bribe of any kind” and turned down the offer without telling Bannon.
At that point, Al-Rumaihi “laughed and then stated to me that I shouldn’t be naive, that so many Washington politicians take our money,” the suit reads. Then, the Qatari investor allegedly said, “Do you think [Michael] Flynn turned down our money?”
The $1.2 billion in damages that Kwatinetz and Cube are seeking is based on the projected revenue and player salaries for BIG3, their 3-on-3 basketball league.
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