rain
Monday May 29th, 2017 6:54PM

Jared Kushner's sister woos China's 'golden visa' investors

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

BEIJING (AP) — The sister of President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner has been in China courting individual investors with a much-criticized federal visa program that provides a path toward obtaining U.S. green cards.

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 pitch seeks to raise funds from Chinese investors through the U.S. government's EB-5 visa program, which allows permanent U.S. residency for those who finance projects that create a certain amount of jobs.

The event was organized by Beijing-based immigration services company QWOS and Kushner Companies, according to an advertisement on the Chinese company's website, which says the project is seeking $150 million from 300 EB-5 investors.

Kushner, a senior adviser to Trump, stepped down as chief executive of the Kushner Companies in January and has sold stakes in several properties to help allay concerns about conflict of interest. His family's promotional efforts in China come amid widespread criticism of the EB-5 visa program, which has grown popular among wealthy foreigners seeking to move to the U.S. but faces allegations of fraud and misuse.

Critics say many of the investments purportedly aimed at assisting poor areas of the U.S. have instead wound up going to projects in more affluent neighborhoods, while many programs have been badly hit by fraud scandals. U.S. lawmakers have been weighing proposed changes to the program, which would likely affect companies such as Kushner Cos. should it want to raise funds from such investors. Earlier this month, Congress extended the EB-5 program in its current form through Sept. 30.

Staffers at QWOS' offices in Beijing and Shanghai either refused to comment or did not answer repeated calls. The Kushner Companies declined comment.

Blake Roberts, an attorney at the law firm of WilmerHale, which is Kushner's personal counsel, said Kushner has no involvement in the operation of Kushner Companies.

Roberts said in a statement that Kushner has divested his interests in the One Journal Square project by selling them to a family trust of which he, his wife and his children are not beneficiaries, a mechanism suggested by the Office of Government Ethics.

"As previously stated, he will recuse from particular matters concerning the EB-5 visa program," the statement said.

Now led by Kushner's relatives, the Kushner Companies had earlier been negotiating with China's Anbang Insurance Group to provide what could be hundreds of millions of dollars in equity for redevelopment of a Manhattan office building. Those negotiations, which had drawn criticism from lawmakers and government ethics experts, ended in March. Critics saw it as a potential attempt by China to curry favor with the White House.

The Chinese company's advertisements for the Journal Square development described the project as "Kushner 1," with punchy subtitles declaring that it has "government support" and is "founded by celebrity developers," without elaborating.

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

Bi said Kushner's sister Meyer spoke for more than 10 minutes, describing the history of the Kushner family and the highlights of the project. Meyer spoke to the audience in English, aided by a translator, and didn't take any questions, Bi said.

The proposed EB-5 investment would account for around 15 percent of the total investment of $976 million required for the project. According to QWOS's advertisements, the development comprises two 66-story towers of 1,476 luxury apartments, as well as commercial and retail space.

Another person who attended the forum in Shanghai, who would only give her surname, Wang, said people in the conference said that Trump's son-in-law was a shareholder of the Kushner Companies, but "he has already quit."

"I don't know if the connection with the president is good or not, it's hard to say," added Wang, who is from Shanghai.

The other participant, Bi, who is pregnant, said she was considering immigrating to America to give her child an academic environment that is "more relaxing; where one can pursue real interests and where the child can do something that they really want to do."

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

___

Associated Press researchers Fu Ting in Shanghai and Henry Hou in Beijing contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP World News, AP Business
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The Latest: Turnout a bit lower than in 2012 French election
France's Interior Ministry says the voter turnout in the country's presidential runoff election so far is slightly lower than it was in 2012
6:22AM ( 7 minutes ago )
50,000 evacuated in German city after 5 WWII bombs uncovered
German authorities are evacuating around 50,000 people from their homes in the northern city of Hannover while five suspected aerial bombs from World War II are made safe for removal
6:08AM ( 21 minutes ago )
The Latest: France's Le Pen votes in party stronghold
Far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has cast her ballot in Henin-Beaumont, a small northern town controlled by her National Front party
5:25AM ( 1 hour ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Tense France chooses new president, deciding Europe's fate
Voters across France are casting ballots in a presidential election runoff that could decide Europe's future, choosing between independent Emmanuel Macron and far-right populist Marine Le Pen
2:49AM ( 3 hours ago )
Experts: Convicting ex-officer in teen's death will be tough
Legal experts say authorities who've charged a white suburban Dallas police officer with murder in a black teenager's death face a tough task in getting a conviction
1:49AM ( 4 hours ago )
'Canelo' Alvarez dominates Chavez Jr., Golovkin next up
Saul "Canelo" Alvarez dominated a grudge against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., winning a unanimous decision in a fight that left no doubt who is the top active Mexican boxer
1:27AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP National News
Mud in your eye: Always Dreaming wins Kentucky Derby in slop
Always Dreaming splashed through the slop to win the Kentucky Derby by 2 3/4 lengths, giving trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez their second victories in the race but their first together
11:35PM ( 6 hours ago )
'Oh, the humanity!' Hindenburg anniversary, broadcast marked
Hundreds of people have gathered at a military base in New Jersey to mark the 80th anniversary of when the German airship Hindenburg burst into flames
9:24PM ( 9 hours ago )
US bobsledder Steven Holcomb, 37, found dead
US Olympic bobsledder Steven Holcomb, a three-time medalist, has been found dead
8:57PM ( 9 hours ago )
AP Online National News
ADB hoping US will step up and help lead regional lender
The head of the Asian Development Bank says he is hoping the U.S. will step up and support the regional lender despite President Donald Trump's avowed preference for bilateral cooperation
2:44AM ( 3 hours ago )
ADB hoping US will keep support for regional lender, growth
The head of the Asian Development Bank says he is hoping the U.S. will step up and support the regional lender despite President Donald Trump's avowed preference for bilateral cooperation
2:09AM ( 4 hours ago )
S. Koreans want new leader to create jobs minus corruption
South Koreans expect the next president to create jobs and end the cozy ties between big family-run businesses and the government that often lead to corruption
12:32AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Business
The Latest: Turnout a bit lower than in 2012 French election
France's Interior Ministry says the voter turnout in the country's presidential runoff election so far is slightly lower than it was in 2012
6:22AM ( 7 minutes ago )
50,000 evacuated in German city after 5 WWII bombs uncovered
German authorities are evacuating around 50,000 people from their homes in the northern city of Hannover while five suspected aerial bombs from World War II are made safe for removal
6:08AM ( 21 minutes ago )
The Latest: France's Le Pen votes in party stronghold
Far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has cast her ballot in Henin-Beaumont, a small northern town controlled by her National Front party
5:25AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: 82 freed schoolgirls to meet Nigerian president
Nigeria's president says that he will meet Sunday with 82 Chibok schoolgirls freed after being kidnapped 3 years ago by Boko Haram
5:07AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Front-runner Macron votes in French election
Centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron, the front-runner in France's presidential election, has voted in the coastal town of Le Tourquet in northern France alongside his wife, Brigitte Macron
5:06AM ( 1 hour ago )