World News

Jared Kushner's sister touts family connections in order to woo Chinese investors

Jared Kushner's sister touts family connections in order to woo Chinese investors

The sister of White House aide Jared Kushner leveraged her brother's name in a sales pitch to Chinese investors, on behalf of the family's real estate venture.

The EB-5 visa program encourages wealthy foreign nationals to make substantial investments in US -based business ventures in exchange for a Green Card and a investor visa. One, it provides an unusual degree of confidence that the investment/bribe will in fact produce the visa they're after (which federal immigration bureaucrat would dare slow-walk a Kushner investor?), and two, it carries the potential for a relationship with the president himself.

"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", the company said in a statement.

And in March of this year, Kushner Companies ended a partnership with Chinese company Anbang Insurance Group that would have allowed investment in their Manhattan headquarters.

The EB-5 programme has become more controversial as uptake began to surge in recent years, particularly among Chinese investors looking for a faster way to secure U.S. green cards relative to wait times for those seeking visas based on job qualifications.

Kushner Companies said Monday that the name drop at the event in Beijing on Saturday was not meant to be an "attempt to lure investors" to one of its projects in New Jersey. The EB-5 program has come under fire by members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. On Saturday, Meyer spoke at a similar promotional conference in Beijing, details of which were first reported by the Washington Post and the New York Times. Kushner Companies has said that Jared has "nothing to do" with the project his sister is now pitching in China.

However, Trump actually signed an extension of the controversial visa program just one day before the event in Beijing was held.

Workers wait for investors during an event promoting EB-5 investment.

"Mr. Kushner has no involvement in the operation of Kushner Companies and divested his interests in the One Journal Square project by selling them to a family trust that he, his wife, and his children are not beneficiaries of, a mechanism suggested by the Office of Government Ethics", said Blake Roberts, an attorney at WilmerHale law firm, in a statement.

At Saturday's event, attendee Wang Yun, a Chinese investor, said the Kushner family's ties to Trump were an obvious part of the project's appeal. 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 company aims to reward worldwide investors and their families with green cards in return for investing in financially safe and secure development projects through the United States", the video said, which was produced by the U.S. Immigration Fund.

The investor visa program was designed to entice overseas investors to put $500,000 into projects, mainly in higher-unemployment areas, creating at least 10 jobs, or $1 million in wealthier areas.

Speakers at the Beijing event described Trump as a "key decision maker" on the fate of the EB-5 program, according to the New York Times.

Organizers prevented reporters from attending the event, saying it was a private function even though it is publicly advertised.


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