In a bizarre and confusing word jumble, the rapper Ice Cube is claiming that the nation of Qatar tried to bribe him and his business partner for access to former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.
Also adding to the intrigue, the business partner claims that when he refused the Qatari money, the representative told him that he was making a mistake and that quote: “Mike Flynn took our money.”
What's the story?
Ice Cube, , whose real name is O'Shea Jackson, owns the BIG3 basketball league with his business partner, Jeff Kwatinetz. In the early 2000s, Kwatinetz worked with Steve Bannon at the television production company, The Firm.
According to Ice Cube and Kwatinetz, after Bannon had been fired from the Trump administration and forced to step down from Breitbart News, Ahmed Al-Rumaihi, a Qatari investor in Big3 approached Kwatinetz and offered money in exchange for Kwatinetz setting up a meeting with Bannon.
According to Kwatinetz, the investor said he wanted to fund Bannon's future endeavors, in return for Bannon's support. Both Ice Cube and Kwatinetz claim that the Qatari investor was working on behalf of his government.
Kwatinetz stated in the court documents:
“I did not engage with Mr. Al-Rumaihi on these topics and when he brought them up I tried to politely ignore him and change the subject.”
According to Kwatinez, even outside of this episode the Qataris repeatedly brought up Bannon's name.
A spokesperson for the investment group that Al-Rumaihi represents said in a statement that Kwatinetz's story was “pure Hollywood fiction” and “a xenophobic PR smear.”
What about Flynn?
In the court documents, Kwatinez recalled what happened after he turned down the alleged bribe:
“Mr. Al-Rumahi laughed and then stated to me that I shouldn't be naive, that so many Washington politicians take our money, and stated 'do you think [Michael] Flynn turned down our money?'”
Why is this coming out now?
Ice Cube and Kwatinetz have filed a lawsuit against multiple Qatari investors, claiming that they failed to invest the amount of money in BIG3 that they promised to. They say the Qataris signed an agreement to invest $20.5 million in BIG3 but they only paid $7.5 million. This investment money is not related to the alleged bribe money.