Family apologizes for using Jared Kushner in China invest pitch

Frederick Owens
May 20, 2017

She mentioned her brother's service as chief executive of Kushner Companies, the family business from which he resigned in January, saying he had left to serve in the Trump administration...

Kushner's sister Nicole Meyer promoted One Journal Square, a Kushner Companies' development in Jersey City, at an event Sunday at the Four Seasons Hotel in Shanghai, according to participants. The so-called "golden visa" program gives foreigners who invest at least $500,000 in us development projects a faster track to pursue green cards for themselves and their families. He stepped down from the family business in January to join the us administration. While records show he at least partially divested from this particular project, and an attorney said Kushner would recuse himself from official decisions about the EB-5 visa, Kushner still can profit from his family's real estate company.

Some of the changes include raising the threshold of money required to benefit from the program, from $500,000 to $1.35 million for the minimum level, and to tighten the requirements to qualify as a "Targeted Employment Area" - to ensure that such designations are reserved for areas that actually would benefit high unemployment areas.

The program allows investors qualify for US citizenship when they invest in the United States.

Neither Kushner Companies nor Qiaowai gave an immediate reply to Quartz's inquiries.

When asked about the connection, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer commented simply, "I would refer you to the company on that". "Congress should cancel EB-5 visa program if Kushner properties not disqualified", he tweeted. Lawmakers have criticized it as a way to essentially sell citizenship to the ultra rich. Sadly, it's just the latest example of the financial conflicts that pervade this White House, which seems unwilling to stop using influence for personal gain.

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There is no suggestion that Trump signed the bill to help the Kushner firm get investments from the Chinese, but the timing underscored the tenuous nature of the program.

Bi Ting, a 34-year-old woman who attended the Shanghai event, said having the name of the USA president's son-in-law associated with it was "a bonus for the project".

Meyer was introduced as representative of "a famed celebrity investment family" and QWOS staff dropped Ivanka's name during the event, sparking concerns of conflict of interest, according to the AFP (via Shanghai Daily). Meyer spoke to the audience in English, aided by a translator, and didn't take any questions, Bi said.

Skeptics of sharply changing the program have a powerful ally in Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from NY, where EB-5 investment is a major driver in real estate development. The propery has two towers, almost 1,500 luxury apartments and a pet medical center.

"Kushner Cos. apologizes if that mention of her brother was in any way interpreted as an attempt to lure investors".

As part of such deals, investors - who in recent years have been overwhelmingly from China - typically accept below-market investment returns to qualify for a visa, allowing the developer to pocket the savings on financing costs. "Later, as investors started leaving the ballroom, organizers physically surrounded attendees to prevent them from giving interviews".

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