Trump’s pick for India has close private equity links, say reports

22 Jun 2017


Private equity firm Warburg Pincus that is pouring funds into India was until January run by top White House adviser Kenneth Juster and Trump's nomination of same advisor as the next US ambassador to India is questionable, say reports.

Kenneth Juster, Trump's nominee for ambassador to India, has deep financial ties to private equity firm Warburg Pincus that recently began investing heavily in the country.

While a confirmation of his appointment as ambassador to India will come after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the US, the White House on Wednesday disclosed that Kenneth Juster, a top deputy to National Economic Council director Gary Cohn, will be nominated to the post in the next couple weeks.

This means that Modi, who will be visiting the US on 25-26 June, will have a tough time tackling Trump.

While there is no indication that Warburg's investment decisions have anything to do with Juster's potential nomination, many of their recent investments have taken place when Juster is awaiting clearance for the post.

Warburg Pincus, where Juster was a partner until January, is scaling up its investments in Indian companies, raising questions about potential financial conflicts if Juster is confirmed.

If Juster's nomination is confirmed and he is appointed US ambassador to this country, Warburg Pincus's scaled up Indian portfolio will pit Washington's top diplomat in New Delhi against ethics rules.

According to White House's own financial disclosure forms, Juster was personally involved in Warburg's work in India. He had also listed eight companies in the PE firm's Indian portfolio in a section of the form requiring disclosure of ''clients for whom you personally provided more than $5,000 in services.''

Juster's connection with Warburg Pincus would bar him from participating in policy decisions that might affect Warburg's bottom line - unless the president decides to exempt Juster from those rules.

The question of whether Warburg's increased investment in India is related to the likelihood that Kenneth Juster, a former partner, is going to be nominated as the US ambassador to India remains.

White House will need to ensure that Juster avoids any conflict of interests when dealing with matters that involve his former firm and that will depend, in part, on whether he has any continuing financial ties to the Warburg Pincus.

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