President Donald Trump’s son-in-law is facing a new round of harsh criticism following a sketchy international business deal that has just come to light.
The latest controversy surrounds First Daughter Ivanka Trump’s husband Jared Kushner and his family business. The Kushner corporation was reportedly caught trying to deliver special government kickbacks to wealthy Chinese investors.
The Kushner family has been forced to issue an embarrassing apology and admit that they crossed the line by using Jared Kushner’s name and likeness for promtional purposes.
The real estate development firm partly managed by the sister of White House senior adviser Jared Kushner has issued an apology over a weekend event in Beijing in which Kushner’s name was used to attract wealthy Chinese to a cash-for-visa scheme commonly used by investment-hungry U.S. real estate developers.
Kushner Companies “apologizes if that mention of [Kushner] was in any way interpreted as an attempt to lure investors,” the company said in a statement emailed to NPR and other news outlets. The apology stops short of admitting that the company was leveraging Kushner’s role in the White House and his relationship to the president, his father-in-law.
The Kushner family apparently came up with a scheme to offer special visas to Chinese investors who were willing to fork over large amounts of cash.
Read more, from Salon:
Nicole Kushner Meyer, Jared’s sister and a principal in the family-run business, was in a ballroom at Beijing’s Ritz-Carlton hotel on Saturday asking a roomful of wealthy Chinese investors to consider investing $500,000 apiece in a New Jersey luxury apartment complex overlooking the Hudson River across from lower Manhattan.
In return, the investors would qualify for an EB-5 investor visa, a fast track to permanent legal residence in the United States. The visa program is so popular with China’s wealthy elites that it’s commonly referred to as the “golden visa.” Promotional materials distributed at the event introduced Meyer as Kushner’s sister and prominently displayed images of Donald Trump.
Though the event was publicly advertised in Beijing, reporters interested in covering it were turned away at the door.
The event, and the name-dropping, underscores the minefield of conflicts of interest Jared has as one of the president’s closest advisers with an immense portfolio of responsibilities ranging from working toward peace in the Middle East to reorganizing the federal government to run more like a corporation. Jared has also become an important intermediary between Chinese officials and his father-in-law.
This is not the first time that Ivanka Trump or Jared Kushner has faced legal and ethical questions over their business operations.
Read more, from Salon:
Jared claims he’s divested from his family businesses, but the holdings remain closely held by family members, including by his brother Joshua, who took over Jared’s stake in the New York Observer newspaper, and mother Seryl, who could return Jared’s interests in the family-run real estate empire after he leaves his position in the White House. Critic say this falls way short of true divestment.
“This quick shuffling of assets among family members could easily be undone immediately after Mr. Kushner leaves the Trump Administration, which calls into question whether these transactions actually help resolve any conflict issues,” Matthew T. Sanderson, a lawyer at Caplin & Drysdale and former general counsel to Sen. Rand Paul’s presidential campaign, told Salon in January.