But the sister of Jared Kushner-Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser-is using her White House connections to lure Chinese investors to help fund a real estate project via a controversial visa program that in essence sells USA citizenship to wealthy foreigners.
The apology came after weekend reports about Nicole Kushner Meyer's trip to Beijing, where she touted a Kushner family project in Jersey City and mentioned the controversial EB-5 visa program.
The EB-5 program allows rich foreign nationals to invest as little as $500,000 in a USA development project likely to create 10 or more new jobs in order to obtain a green card.
Kushner Companies "apologizes if that mention of [Meyer's] brother was in any way interpreted as an attempt to lure investors", it said in a statement emailed to NPR, adding that it was not her intention.
Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and a chief White House adviser, has no stake in the project promoted over the weekend and has recused himself from the family business.
According to the website of Beijing-based immigration services company QWOS, Kushner Companies was seeking $150 million from 300 EB-5 investors. In China, business, family and politics are often deeply intertwined with Kushner filling the familiar role of "princeling" in the eyes of China's elite. The program has offered wealthy foreigners a way around complicated US immigration rules, allowing them to live in the United States and seek permanent residency in return for substantial investments.
The visa program is especially popular among rich Chinese desperate to move their assets out of their country amid an economic slowdown.
Critics say numerous investments purportedly aimed at assisting poor areas of the US have instead wound up going to projects in more affluent neighborhoods, while many programs have been badly hit by fraud scandals.More news: 3 big questions remain about Michael Flynn after Sally Yates' testimony
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Workers wait for investors during an event promoting EB-5 investment. Kushner resigned as CEO from his family's real estate company in January, ahead of joining the White House staff.
"Mr. Kushner divested his interests in the One Journal Square project by selling them to a family trust that he is not a beneficiary of, a mechanism suggested by the Office of Government Ethics".
Meanwhile, the Democrats criticized Meyer's sales presentation about the EB-5 investor visa program.
At a press briefing, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Jared Kushner has no involvement in the project.
The programme designates private entities including property developers as "regional centres", which are expected to create jobs with the projects they undertake with money they collect from foreign investors.
In Beijing on Saturday, potential investors in the Kushner project were told they should act quickly because the minimum investment for the EB-5 program could go up.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the Senate Judiciary Committee's ranking member, says the Kushner situation shows Congress should change the EB-5 rules.