Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

In a Beijing ballroom, Kushner family pushes $500,000 ‘investor visa’ to wealthy Chinese

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This seems very like selling visas to me, with the profit going to the Kushners. Emily Rauhala and William Wan report in the Washington Post:

The Kushner family came to the United States as refugees, worked hard and made it big — and if you invest in Kushner properties, so can you.

That was the message delivered Saturday by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner’s sister Nicole Kushner Meyer to a ballroom full of wealthy Chinese investors in Beijing.

Over several hours of slide shows and presentations, representatives from the Kushner family business urged Chinese citizens gathered at a Ritz-Carlton hotel to consider investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in a New Jersey luxury apartment complex that would help them secure what’s known as an investor visa.

The potential investors were advised to invest sooner rather than later in case visa rules change under the Trump administration. “Invest early, and you will invest under the old rules,” one speaker said.

The tagline on a brochure for the event: “Invest $500,000 and immigrate to the United States.”

And the highlight of the afternoon was Meyer, a principal for the company, who was introduced in promotional materials as Jared’s sister.

The event underscores the extent to which Kushner’s private business interests have the potential to collide with his powerful role as a top official in his father-in-law’s White House, particularly when it comes to China, where Kushner has become a crucial diplomatic channel between Beijing and the new administration.

While Kushner has reported divesting from elements of the family business, including the specific project that his sister pitched in Beijing, the session Saturday demonstrated that the company is perceived as enjoying close ties to the Trump administration. Ethics laws prohibit government officials from profiting personally from their public-sector work.

Watchdogs and ethics experts on Saturday criticized the Beijing event as an attempt to cash in on Kushner’s newfound proximity to power.

“It’s incredibly stupid and highly inappropriate,” said Richard Painter, the former chief White House ethics lawyer in President George W. Bush’s administration, who has become a vocal critic of the Trump administration. “They clearly imply that the Kushners are going to make sure you get your visa. . . . They’re [Chinese applicants] not going to take a chance. Of course they’re going to want to invest.”

Among the wealthy elites in China, family, business and politics are all deeply intertwined. . .

Continue reading.

There’s more. The report concludes:

. . . Kushner’s personal financial disclosure form reflects that he divested his interest in K One Journal Square LLC. The form described the asset as undeveloped real estate in Jersey City. Because the asset was already divested, Kushner’s filing does not reflect its estimated value. But he did report between $1 million and $5 million in income connected to the project.

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.

“Even though this is the project of the son-in-law’s family, of course it is still affiliated,” Wang said.

Wang reasoned that the link to Trump would be a boon if the presidency goes well but could be disastrous if it does not: “We heard that there are rumors that he is the most likely to be impeached president in American history. That’s why I doubt this project.”

Many of the people who attended the event declined to be interviewed, citing privacy concerns, or were blocked by organizers from speaking to the news media.

Although the event was publicly advertised in Beijing, the hosts were exceptionally anxious about the presence of reporters.

Journalists were initially seated at the back of the ballroom, but as the presentations got underway, a public-relations representative asked The Washington Post to leave, saying the presence of foreign reporters threatened the “stability” of the event.

At one point, organizers grabbed a reporter’s phone and backpack to try to force that person to leave. Later, as investors started leaving the ballroom, organizers physically surrounded attendees to prevent them from giving interviews.

Asked why reporters were asked to leave, a PR person who declined to identify herself said simply, “This is not the story we want.”

Sounds to me as though they know that what they are doing is unsavory if not outright illegal.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 May 2017 at 5:48 pm

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