Close friend of Kim Kardashian is revealed as having a key role in Saudi takeover of Newcastle

Florida businesswoman – and close friend of Kim Kardashian – is revealed as having a key role in Saudi takeover of Premier League side Newcastle

  • Carla DiBello had an instrumental role in the £300m Saudi takeover of Newcastle
  • The Florida businesswoman once described Kim Kardashian as a close friend 
  • DiBello appears to be performing PR function for both PIF and Saudi Arabia 

A businesswoman from Florida who once described the American reality star Kim Kardashian as one of her ‘best friends’ played an instrumental role in the £300m takeover of Newcastle United by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), according to a source close to the deal.

Carla DiBello, 37, was key in introducing PIF to Amanda Staveley’s firm PCP Capital Partners, who own 10 per cent of the club.

The former TV producer, who worked on the reality show Keeping Up With The Kardashians, attended last weekend’s 2-0 defeat at Arsenal and appears to be performing a public-relations function for both PIF and Saudi Arabia.

Florida businesswomen Carla DiBello (right), who once described herself as a close friend of Kim Kardashian (third right) had a key role in the £300m Saudi Arabia takeover of Newcastle

In the face of ongoing criticism that PIF and its chairman Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) are not fit and proper custodians of a football club, DiBello’s relentless positivity is seen as one way to counter that. She has 600,000 Instagram followers and 69,000 Twitter followers.

Last weekend she posted a photo of herself from the Emirates with the caption ‘London Town’ and emojis depicting a Union Flag, a football and Newcastle’s crest.

PIF have been 80 per cent owners of Newcastle since the October takeover, which the British businesswoman Staveley fronted. PCP Capital Partners own 10 per cent, as do the billionaire Reuben brothers, David and Simon.

‘Carla DiBello was involved way back, and was key in making the introduction between PIF and PCP,’ an insider told The Mail on Sunday. ‘She has lived in Dubai for eight years, and is good friends with Amanda’s husband (financier Mehrdad Ghodoussi).

‘Her long track record of working with Saudi companies, and PIF, is well known. But Carla is not employed by the club, or PIF, or the PCP and has nothing to do with running the club.’

According to a Wall Street Journal profile of DiBello last year, she is good friends with PIF’s governor, Yasir al-Rumayyan, who is now Newcastle’s chairman.

The same profile recorded how DiBello’s ties to Saudi Arabia are rooted in a friendship she had with a Saudi family who lived in the same gated community in Sarasota, Florida, 20 years ago.

Esam Ghazzawi was a money manager for the Saudi royal family at the time, and DiBello was friends with his daughter, Anoud. 

DiBello helped Newcastle director Amanda Staveley (centre) broker the controversial deal

DiBello helped Newcastle director Amanda Staveley (centre) broker the controversial deal

The Ghazzawis left Florida shortly before the 9/11 terror attacks, and FBI documents much later revealed that two of the 9/11 terrorists had spent time at a property owned by Esam Ghazzawi in Sarasota, while taking flying lessons.

DiBello’s LinkedIn page says she was a producer of Keeping Up With The Kardashians from 2009 to 2013, and also ‘director of brand and business development’ at Kim Kardashian Productions in the same years.

She has been the CEO of her own Sarasota company, CDB Advisory, since 2013. Her firm’s website says: ‘CDB Advisory is a full-service, client-focused boutique advisory firm specialising in bespoke consulting that bridges connections across private sectors throughout the Middle East and North America.’

DiBello has also been a monthly columnist for Arab News, an English-language mouthpiece for Saudi Arabia’s government, since January this year. She did not respond to a request for comment.

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