Domingo, 21 Octubre, 2018

Kushner Companies apologizes for name dropping Jared during China investors pitch

Jared Kushner's sister touts family connections in order to woo Chinese investors Sister of Donald Trump's senior adviser solicits Chinese investment
Eleena Tovar | 09 May, 2017, 10:42

The Kushner Companies has apologized for including the name of President Donald Trump's son-in-law in materials promoting a New Jersey development to foreign investors seeking potential USA residency.

Nicole Kushner Meyer was in Beijing and Shanghai over the weekend, seeking more than US$150 million in investment in a luxury apartment complex project in New Jersey.

There, Nicole Kushner Meyer told investors that the project "means a lot to me and my entire family", and mentioned her brother's former role as chief executive of Kushner Companies, the New York Times reported.

However, eyebrows have been raised as the Chinese investment sought by his family firm will be funnelled through the US EB-5 visa programme.

The Beijing event promoting One Journal Square sparked discussion in the United States over whether Jared Kushner's family's business would benefit from decisions Trump makes with regards to the government's EB-5 programme, which grants visas to foreigners investing at least US$500,000 in designated U.S. projects.

Richard Painter, formerly an attorney for President George W. Bush, said the sales pitch, which focused on an "investor visa" program and mentioned both Jared Kushner and President Donald Trump, came "very, very close to solicitation of a bribe".

"Ms Meyer wanted to make clear that her brother had stepped away from the company in January and has nothing to do with this project", said Risa Heller, a Kushner Companies spokeswoman.

During her seven-minute speech in Shanghai, Nicole did not mention Jared Kushner or Trump but instead talked about her family's history since her grandparents went to the U.S. as refugees in the 1940s, the report said. That was not Ms. Meyer's intention.

Among the projects partly financed with EB-5 funds is a Kushner property jointly developed with the Trump organization called Trump Bay Street in Jersey City.

"As previously stated, he will recuse from particular matters concerning the EB-5 visa program", Mr Roberts said in a statement.

About 15 percent of the project is expected to be funded through the EB-5 program. Other members of Congress had put forward a proposal to overhaul the program, including raising the minimum investment from $500,00 to $1.3 million. Allies for reforming the program include Reps. But the budget Trump signed last week extends it until September 30. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said in a March 14 letter that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a real estate group were undercutting the reforms.

"Invest $500,000 and immigrate to the United States", said one pamphlet for the event to raise money for the project, according to the Post.

And this was exactly the point one investor made, saying, "Invest early, and you will invest under the old rules". She also delivered her pitch in Shanghai this weekend, where a large photo of Trump was seen at the reception desk.

Funding for the investor visa program remains intact but congressional critics have attacked it in the past as rife with fraud, with investment money supposedly targeted at improving life in impoverished communities ending up instead being used to build projects in affluent neighborhoods. The EB-5 visa program has proven especially popular among wealthy Chinese who see it not only as a ticket toward USA citizenship, but as a way to launder money.