Family of Trump's son-in-law solicits Chinese funding

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 20, 2017

The sister of President Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, highlighted her powerful brother as she pitched financing the family firm's real estate project in New Jersey to Chinese investors.

Guests at the Beijing events were advised to put their money in the Kushner project via the EB-5 program, which awards foreign investors a two-year visa in exchange for investing at least $500,000 in a development project promising to create at least 10 jobs.

Marketing materials for the event last week promoted Nicole Kushner Meyer as Jared's sister, and cited the Kushner family's "celebrity" status. They hope to finance 15% ($150 million) of the real estate project with the help of overseas investors.

According to CNN, their statement stressed Meyer's comments weren't an "attempt to lure investors", and that she "wanted to make clear that her brother had stepped away from the company in January and has nothing to do with this project".

Now led by Kushner's relatives, the Kushner Companies had earlier been negotiating with China's Anbang Insurance Group to provide what could be hundreds of millions of dollars in equity for redevelopment of a Manhattan office building.

The EB-5 visa program, which wealthy Chinese sometimes call the "golden visa" program, brings billions of dollars into the USA for major projects, but there have also been several fraud cases, reports the New York Times.

A poster for an event is seen at a hotel in Shanghai, China May 7, 2017.

Attendees were reassured by an American lawyer that despite his tough talk on immigration, Trump himself was a key decision-maker for EB-5 policy and was unlikely to make any changes to it in the near future - making it a safe path to USA residency.

Kushner Companies later apologized for the name drop, and said it was not meant to be an "attempt to lure investors" to one of its projects in New Jersey.

There's new scrutiny being directed towards senior Trump adviser Jared Kushner and his family's business interests overseas.

The Washington Post, however, while reported that the event in Beijing was held with a message that the Kushner family came to the U.S. as refugees, worked hard and made it big and if you invest in Kushner properties, so can you.

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".

The event was organized by QWOS, a firm that helps Chinese citizens access USA green cards through investments.

Staff during a Shanghai event on Sunday promoting EB-5 investments in a Kushner Companies development in New Jersey.

Kushner's lawyer claims that Kushner has personally divested from the One Journal Square project, although of course his family has not.

Created in 1990 as a way to encourage investment during a recession, the program requires foreigners to invest $1 million in a business that sustainably employs 10 people anywhere or $500,000 in rural areas or those with high unemployment.

It was a bad four days for those seeking to reform the controversial, scandal-ridden EB-5 program. He is married to Trump's daughter Ivanka, who also serves in the White House as an assistant to the President. They were told by organizers that it was a "private event", despite it being publicly advertised.

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