President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, often called the most powerful man in this White House, has sought to disengage himself from his businesses over conflict of interest issues, but his family seems to have missed the memo.
Nicole Kushner Meyer, his sister, pitched a ballroom full of wealthy Chinese in Beijing on Saturday a US housing development project saying, according to US media reports, the project “means a lot to me and my entire family”.
And in case anyone missed the family connection, she mentioned, The New York Times said, 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”.
The project was advertised in China as a “star Kushner real-estate family” offering, NYT reported, and one of the buildings in the project is called Kushner 1.
The pitch was to get investors to put in their money through a controversial US visa programme called EB-5 that offers US citizenship to foreigners who put in more than a certain amount in development projects that create jobs.
A brochure on the project said, “Invest $500,000 and immigrate to the United States.” And the company urged investors to get on with it before rules changed, given the Trump administration’s ongoing tightening of visa rules. “Invest early, and you will invest under the old rules,” one speaker said, according to The Washington Post.
Both The Washington Post and NYT said their reporters were asked to leave the room.
After the event, Meyer refused to answer questions from reporters if there was any conflict of interest regarding the project and her brother’s new position.
NYT said a man accompanying her told reporters, angrily, “Please leave us alone!”
Jared Kushner, who has had business dealings with China before and had sought investments from an insurance company with links to the communist party, has emerged as a central conduit between the Trump administration and China.
And he played a crucial role in the planning and execution of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to the US for his first meeting with Trump.
Blake Roberts, an attorney at the WilmerHale law firm who serves as Kushner’s personal counsel, told Washington Post: Kushner “divested his interests in the One Journal Square project by selling them to a family trust that he is not a beneficiary of, a mechanism suggested by the Office of Government Ethics. As previously stated, he will recuse from particular matters concerning the EB-5 visa program”.