White House senior adviser Jared Kushner's family business is courting wealthy Chinese to buy stakes in real estate through a controversial government program that offers United States residency in exchange for investment.
Nicole Kushner Meyer was in China at the weekend, seeking more than $150 million in investment in a luxury apartment complex known as 'One Journal Square, ' on which ground is scheduled to break early next year. That's because her husband Jared Kushner, fellow investor in Trump's Washington D.C. hotel and senior advisor to the president, is also shaking hands with China. "That was not Ms Meyer's intention".
To lure investors at the event, as reports said, she mentioned Jared Kushner's service as chief executive of Kushner Companies, the family business from which he resigned January, saying he had left to serve in the Trump administration.
While Kushner has reported divesting from elements of the family business, including the specific project that his sister pitched in Beijing, the session yesterday demonstrated that the company is perceived as enjoying close ties to the Trump administration, it said. The visa program offers investors a path to obtain US green cards if they invest enough money in projects that create American jobs. While White House officials said it was renewed as part of a larger spending bill, the choice raises questions about how Trump's businesses may benefit from such programs, and whether any decisions can be seen in a conflict-free light.
The Beijing pitch event for One Journal Square was hosted by a Chinese firm called Qiaowai, which is working with Kushner Companies to secure funding for the project.
Organizers even tried to physically prevent attendees from speaking to the press, but one potential investor did tell WaPo, "Even though this is the project of the son-in-law's family, of course it is still affiliated [with Trump]".
Meyer made the same pitch in Shanghai on Sunday, according to the Times.
"Chinese people are pretty affluent now", said Stella Guo, a marketing director at CanAchieve Consultants, which helps Chinese clients obtain visas under the EB-5 program. In 2014, the most recent year for which data is available, the United States issued over 10,000 such visas-and 85% of them went to people from China.More news: Explaining the mechanics of the Trump-Russia special counsel
On Friday, President Donald Trump extended the controversial EB-5 program that allows visas to be fast-tracked in exchange for investment in US properties.
Jared Kushner has stepped away from the business since taking a key role in Trump's White House.
But the company said her comments should not to interpreted as an attempt to bring in investors.
The EB-5 visa program has been under scrutiny in the past - including most recently in March, when Rep.
Lawmakers across party lines have expressed concerns about EB-5 visas for decades.
Though the program is not often in the spotlight, it has always been targeted on Capitol Hill for reform - and the Department of Homeland Security is considering some changes to the program to set a higher bar for would-be investors.