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Kushners apologize for name-dropping Jared to Chinese investors

20 May 2017

The company is seeking 300 aspiring US residents to invest a total of $150 million, and it follows other Kushner family projects using the investment program known as EB-5, including a nearby Trump-licensed building promoted as "Trump Bay Street".

"In 2008, my brother Jared Kushner joined the family company as CEO, and recently moved to Washington to join the administration", Meyer said at the conference aimed at encouraging Chinese developers to invest in a New Jersey real estate project, according to CNN.

On Sunday, a Kushner Companies representative sent an email to the Washington Post that said Meyer "apologizes if that mention of her brother was in any way interpreted as an attempt to lure investors".

"There is much harrumphing as the Kushner companies are found to be extolling the idea of investment in the United States economy as a way to gain a residence visa for America", writesForbes contributor Tim Worstall, a fellow at the Adam Smith Institute in London.

"This crass effort by the Kushner family to raise large amounts of funding in China and to use government "investment visas" as incentives for wealthy Chinese individuals to invest in the Kushner family business is clearly meant to create the appearance that Jared Kushner and his family can be influential in their obtaining investor visas to the United States", wrote Fred Wertheimer, president of the ethics watchdog Democracy 21, in a letter Monday to the Office of Government Ethics.

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"Chinese people are pretty affluent now", said Stella Guo, a marketing director at CanAchieve Consultants, which helps Chinese clients obtain visas under the EB-5 program. Earlier this month, Congress extended the EB-5 program in its current form through September 30.

The controversy began when reporters from The Washington Post and The New York Times sat in on a publicly advertised event at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Beijing on Saturday.

The key message of the events, according to the WaPost: "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".

During the event in Beijing, Kushner's sister promoted a program offering a path to USA citizenship to Chinese backers.

Liu said he had been to previous pitches for EB-5 investments but had concerns about the risks.

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Critics have blasted the Kushner Companies' sales pitches in China, saying they are a new example of how the Trump administration is using its position to boost its business interests. President Trump signed a spending bill extending the program last week.

Critics say numerous investments purportedly aimed at assisting poor areas of the USA have instead wound up going to projects in more affluent neighborhoods, while many programs have been badly hit by fraud scandals. Before transitioning to the White House, Jared Kushner was said to have raised USD50 million for a Trump-branded apartment complex from Chinese EB-5 applicants, Bloomberg reports.

Staff during a Shanghai event on Sunday promoting EB-5 investments in a Kushner Companies development in New Jersey.

The proposed EB-5 investment would account for around 15 percent of the total investment of $976 million required for the project.

Blake Roberts, Mr Kushner's attorney, said on Saturday that he has divested his interests in the One Journal Square project.

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The investor visa program was designed to entice overseas investors to put $500,000 into projects, mainly in higher-unemployment areas, creating at least 10 jobs, or $1 million in wealthier areas. "Later, as investors started leaving the ballroom, organizers physically surrounded attendees to prevent them from giving interviews".