Nicole Kushner Meyer, the sister of the key White House adviser, raised her brother's connections to the Trump administration while seeking to raise money from Chinese investors through a government visa program for foreigners who invest in U.S. projects.
The program offers foreign nationals permanent residency - commonly known as a green card - in exchange for investments of at least US$500,000 in a U.S. business that must also create 10 United States jobs.
Relatives of United States president's son-in- law Jared Kushner are touring major mainland cities to woo wealthy Chinese investors for luxury projects in New Jersey while offering an American green card in return, according to a media report.
"We have every reason to believe there will continue to be a lot of demand for visas for the USA from Chinese investors", said Dave Platter, global communications director at Juwai.com, a property search engine that lists real estate around the world for Chinese buyers.
"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. And the sell in Beijing involved a controversial visa program known as EB-5. Meyer is a principal at Kushner Companies, which her brother (married to Ivanka Trump) ran before stepping away in order to serve his father-in-law in the White House.
Before Kushner joined the Trump administration as a senior adviser, the news agency added, his family firm raised some $50 million through the EB-5 program for a Trump-branded luxury apartment building in New Jersey. Bloomberg reported a year ago that Kusher Companies raised $50 million for the Jersey City project from the controversial EB-5 program.More news: US fails to reassure Europe, Japan over 'Trumponomics'
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Kushner Companies said in a statement that Meyer was trying to make clear that her brother had separated himself from the company and the project.
The program allows investors qualify for US citizenship when they invest in the United States. They accused her of using Jared Kushner's name to raise funds for the Kushner's family project.
The event itself encouraged Chinese investors to do business with Kushner properties with the incentive of coming to the US on a visa program given to those who spend at least $500,000 in property investment.
The minimum required investment is typically $1 million, but a special rule allows the minimum to drop to $500,000 if a project includes an economically area.
The EB-5 visa program has been under scrutiny in the past - including most recently in March, when Rep.
"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", his lawyer, Blake Roberts of WilmerHale law firm, said in a statement emailed to Reuters by the White House.
Curiously, this event, which was led by President Donald Trump's son-in-law's sister, was held just one day after the president signed H.R. 244 - Consolidated Appropriations Act, the spending bill that will keep the government running until September. The program, which is popular among wealthy Chinese people, has been nicknamed the "golden visa". "Later, as investors started leaving the ballroom, organizers physically surrounded attendees to prevent them from giving interviews".