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Mohamed Alabbar in talks with Jared Kushner for Serbia project

Strategic Collaboration
  • The discussions between Alabbar and Kushner signal a potential collaboration between Emirati and American interests, highlighting the growing importance of international partnerships in global business ventures.

Mohamed Alabbar, the founder of Emaar is reportedly in talks to collaborate with Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of former US President Donald Trump, to redevelop a former Yugoslav army headquarters building in Serbia into a residential complex, according to Reuters.

Mohamed Alabbar and Jared Kushner partnership

Contacted by Reuters, Alabbar said he “looked at collaborations with Kushner positively” and was “very excited about more high-end development in the market”. He did not elaborate on what the partnership would entail.

Kushner told Reuters last month he was in talks over investing in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, to transform the army building, but said the deal was in negotiations and might not happen.

A person familiar with Kushner’s plans in Serbia said Alabbar was involved in the redevelopment as an advisor and it was too early to say whether the Emirati would also invest in it.

Serbia’s President, Aleksandar Vucic, confirmed a partnership was under discussion.

Asked by Reuters last month if the Belgrade project had been facilitated by connections Kushner made during his time as a Trump advisor in the White House, he said, “No one is ‘giving’ me special deals.”


The New York Times reported in March this year that the Trump son-in-law was closing on major real estate deals in Albania and Serbia.

The report said the Albania project would develop an island off the coast of the country into a luxury tourist destination.

While the Belgrade project was a planned luxury hotel and 1,500 residential units and a museum development in Serbia’s capital, at the site of the long-vacant former headquarters of the Yugoslav Army, according to a member of Parliament in Serbia and Kushner’s company.

The report added that a third project, also in Albania, would be built on the Zvërnec peninsula, a 1,000-acre coastal area in the south of Albania that is part of the resort community known as Vlorë, where several hotels and hundreds of villas would be built, according to the plan.

Kushner’s participation would be through his investment firm, Affinity Partners, which has $2bn in funding from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, among other foreign investors.

In a statement, an official with Affinity Partners said it had not been determined whether the Saudi funds might be a part of any project Kushner is considering in the Balkans.


Furthermore, Reuters also reported that Mohamed Alabbar, the Emirati real estate developer behind Dubai’s signature skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa, has initiated the sale of property assets he owns in Belarus, a country targeted by Western sanctions, according to two people familiar with the matter, even as he collaborates with Jared Kushner on the possible investment in Serbia.

The Belarus project is now in the preliminary agreement stage to sell Alabbar’s interests in a multi-billion-dollar property development in Minsk, through his Symphony Global Holdings investment vehicle, the people familiar with the matter said.

Reuters could not determine who has proposed to buy Alabbar’s interests in the Minsk development, known as North Waterfront, nor the terms of the preliminary deal.

While Minsk is not involved in the Russia-Ukraine crisis, Belarus’s President Alexander Lukashenko has allowed Russian troops to use its territory. The US has adopted a series of sanctions against Belarus for aiding Russia, prohibiting US citizens from doing business with Lukashenko and some members of his entourage.

Lukashenko was personally involved in the North Waterfront project, kicking off the development with a May 2021 decree calling for the creation of a vast residential complex along water reservoirs in northern Minsk, and assigning the lead role to one of Alabbar’s companies.

A spokesperson for Lukashenko said Alabbar’s preliminary sale agreement was “news to the president”.


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