Thursday, 29 June, 2017

Reporters barred from China event seeking investment in Kushner project

Reporters barred from China event seeking investment in Kushner project Reporters barred from China event seeking investment in Kushner project
Kenny Thornton | 20 May, 2017, 07:05

Kushner Companies apologized on Monday for mentioning White House adviser Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law, in a pitch to prospective investors in China over the weekend.

Nicole Kushner Meyer, sister of Ivanka's husband, Jared Kushner, promoted the USD500,000 visas - which grant USA permanent residency - at one of the events in a Beijing hotel ballroom this past weekend, reports the Washington Post.

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.

Speaking in a ballroom [in Beijing], Ms. Meyer said the project "means a lot to me and my entire family".

"The company aims to reward global 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 firm also stressed Kushner "stepped away from the company in January and has nothing to do with this project", which it said would provide $180 million in tax revenue over 30 years.

Meyer was promoting the controversial (though legal) EB-5 immigrant investor visa program, which gives foreign investors a path to citizenship if they invest at least $500,000 in American development projects.

"They clearly imply that the Kushners are going to make sure you get your visa", he told the Washington Post.

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. At a Sunday presentation in Shanghai, security guards barred all media.

A slide displayed at the event on Saturday identified Mr. Trump as a "key decision maker" on the fate of the EB-5 program.

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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 United States green cards relative to wait times for those seeking visas based on job qualifications. After Australia and Canada changed their immigration rules, the US program is one of the cheapest and least restrictive, according to experts.

The EB-5 program also gives wealthy Chinese the opportunity to move a big chunk of their savings overseas at a time of uncertainty about the future of the world's second-largest economy.

THE FIRST thing to be said about the weekend's visa-peddling conference by the Kushner Companies in China is: The administration should take it as an opportunity for a forthright policy stance.

Feinstein said in a statement reports by The New York Times, The Washington Post and others make "crystal clear that the EB-5 regional center program presents a stark conflict of interest for the Trump White House".

Meyer was in China looking for investors for a Kushner real estate project in Jersey City.

An attorney representing Kushner told the WSJ that "the Cadre stake is described in a revised version of his disclosure form that will be made public after it has been certified by ethics officials" and that he has "resigned from Cadre's board, assigned his voting rights and reduced his ownership share".

The programme is popular among wealthy Chinese looking to shift assets abroad or move overseas, but it has come under fire in the United States.

"EB-5 is also rife with fraud and abuse". In September 2015, the Bipartisan Policy Center estimated that 44,000 people, a third of them foreign investors and the rest family members, had qualified since 1992.

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