The family company of Jared Kushner, White House adviser and President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, said Monday that it had not intended to invoke Kushner’s influence in the Trump administration as part of a pitch to Chinese investors.
Ethical questions were raised when Kushner’s sister, Nicole Kushner Meyer, touted her family’s ties to the Trump administration while promoting the company’s real estate projects at an event in Beijing on Saturday.
“Ms. Meyer wanted to make clear that her brother had stepped away from the company in January and has nothing to do with this project,” a spokesperson for Kushner Companies said in a statement on Monday. “Kushner Companies apologizes if that mention of her brother was in any way interpreted as an attempt to lure investors. That was not Ms. Meyer’s intention.”
In seeking Chinese investors, Kushner Companies, a real estate development firm, was highlighting the EB-5 visa program, which essentially allows wealthy foreigners to buy U.S. visas by investing at least $500,000 in U.S. real estate development.
Pamphlets at the event reportedly used the tagline “Invest $500,000 and immigrate to the United States.” Online advertising hailed the “peace of mind” obtainable through the EB-5 visa program and referred to the Kushners as a “famous real estate clan.” A flow chart presented at the event featured a photo of President Trump as a “key decision maker” on the visa program.
Jared Kushner’s lawyer emphasized in a statement Saturday that his client has no role in the hunt for Chinese investors. Attorney Blake Roberts noted that Kushner stepped down as CEO of his family’s company and removed himself from the New Jersey project in question before Trump became president in January.
“Mr. Kushner has no involvement in the operation of Kushner Companies and divested his interests in the One Journal Square project by selling them to a family trust that he, his wife, and his children are not beneficiaries of, a mechanism suggested by the Office of Government Ethics,” Roberts said. “As previously stated, he will recuse from particular matters concerning the EB-5 visa program.”
But Kushner’s sweeping role in the White House has included brokering U.S.-Chinese relations, and he and his wife have faced ethical questions involving their businesses’ international efforts. Ivanka Trump’s company won trademarks in China on the same day her father hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping for a dinner at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.
After the Saturday event in Beijing, Kushner Companies held a similar gathering in Shanghai on Sunday. Reporters said they were told the event was private and turned away, even though it had been publicly advertised.