World

Kushner family pitching 'investor visas' to rich Chinese

Trump's son-in-law's former firm, Kushner Companies, hold events in China to attract investment

SHANGHAI: Organisers yesterday barred journalists from a publicly advertised event in Shanghai to attract Chinese investment in a US real estate project - linked to the family of US President Donald Trump's son-in-law - in exchange for immigrant visas.

One Journal Square, a two-tower luxury apartment complex in New Jersey, is being developed by KABR Group and the Kushner Companies, which until recently was headed by senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, the husband of Mr Trump's daughter Ivanka.

The developers are seeking to raise US$150 million (S$211 million), or 15.4 per cent of funding for the project, from investors through the EB-5 visa programme, according to marketing materials posted by the event's organiser, immigration agency Qiaowai.

The controversial EB-5 visa programme allows wealthy foreigners to, in effect, buy US immigration visas by investing at least US$500,000 in certain development projects.

"Sorry, this is a private event," said a man stopping journalists from entering a function room at the Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai yesterday afternoon.

Guests at the event said Mr Kushner's sister, Ms Nicole Kushner Meyer, spoke for about 10 minutes.

According to The New York Times, Ms Meyer attended a similar event in Beijing on Saturday and told the audience of about 100 people that the project "means a lot to me and my entire family".

SOLD STAKE

Mr Jared Kushner, whose White House portfolio includes relations with China, sold his stake in Kushner Companies to a family trust early this year.

His lawyer said in a statement in March that Mr Kushner is fully complying with ethics rules, removing himself from active participation in his prior businesses and divesting assets.

A Kushner Companies spokesman declined to comment in a Times article published on Saturday about the Beijing event.

The story said Ms Meyer did not respond when asked if she was concerned about possible conflicts of interest facing her brother.

Journalists from the Times and Washington Post were removed from Saturday's Beijing event, the newspapers reported.

One potential investor, Ms Sophie Xing, said an "important" factor in her decision to attend yesterday's event was that the project is a Kushner Companies investment and that Mr Trump's son-in-law's sister would be showing up.

In addition to Beijing and Shanghai, the road show for One Journal Square is scheduled to hit Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Wuhan, according to Qiaowai. - REUTERS

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