Organizers on Sunday barred journalists from a publicly advertised event in Shanghai that offered Chinese investors the chance to get US immigrant visas if they put money in a real-estate project linked to the family of US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law.
The two-tower luxury apartment complex in New Jersey, One Journal Square, is being developed by KABR Group and the Kushner Companies, which until recently was headed by senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, the husband of Trump’s daughter Ivanka.
The developers are seeking to raise US$150 million, or 15.4 percent of funding for the project, from investors through the EB-5 visa program, according to marketing materials posted by the event’s organizer, immigration agency Qiaowai (僑外移民).
The controversial EB-5 program allows wealthy foreigners to, in effect, buy US immigration visas for themselves and families by investing at least US$500,000 in certain development projects.
“Sorry, this is a private event,” said a man stopping journalists from entering a function room at the Four Seasons Hotel in Shanghai.
Guests at the event said Kushner’s sister, Nicole Kushner Meyer, spoke for about 10 minutes, including about her family’s humble roots.
According to the New York Times, Meyer attended a similar event in Beijing on Saturday and told the audience of about 100 people the project “means a lot to me and my entire family.”
Jared Kushner, whose White House portfolio includes relations with China, sold his stake in Kushner Companies to a family trust early this year.
“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 e-mailed to Reuters by the White House.
“As previously stated, he will recuse from particular matters concerning the EB-5 visa program,” it said.
A Kushner Companies spokeswoman declined to comment in a New York Times article about the Beijing event published on Saturday.
The Times story said Meyer did not respond when asked if she was concerned about possible conflicts of interest facing her brother. Journalists from the Times and the Washington Post were removed from Saturday’s Beijing event, the newspapers reported.
One potential investor, Sophie Xing, said a “very important” factor in her decision to attend Sunday’s event was the fact the project was a Kushner Companies investment and that Trump’s son-in-law’s sister would be in Shanghai.
“Actually I really don’t know how close they are, but I felt that this was a pretty good project,” she said.
In a promotional text message seen by Reuters, Qiaowai made note of Meyer’s relationship to Trump and called her the event’s “heavyweight honored guest.”
Qiaowai representatives at the event declined to answer questions from journalists and calls to its listed phone number went unanswered.
Qiaowai is also known as QWOS. Its promotional materials for the project, which it also calls Kushner1, advertise the prospect of putting money in under the federal EB-5 program.
The program is popular among wealthy Chinese looking to shift assets abroad or move overseas, but it has come under fire in the US.
Some US lawmakers have called for changing or abolishing the EB-5 program, but the scheme was recently renewed by Congress until Sept. 30.
Xing said a Kushner representative who spoke on Sunday stressed that EB-5 rules could change after September to raise the minimum required investment.
Another person who attended Sunday’s event, Liu Guoqi, was mindful of the potential rule change.
Liu said he had been to previous pitches for EB-5 investments, but had concerns about the risks.
“The whole thing may change later this year so we feel that there isn’t much time left,” he said.
In the US, the EB-5 program has also sparked concerns about possible scams. Some immigrants have been burned by misrepresentations made about the program by promoters, both inside and outside the US. Many have lost not only their money, but their chance at winning US citizenship.
Trump has vowed to clamp down on illegal immigration.
In addition to Beijing and Shanghai, the road show for One Journal Square was scheduled to visit the Chinese cities of Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Wuhan, according to Qiaowai’s marketing materials online.
It calls the Kushner family a “famous real estate clan” and touts EB-5 immigration as “peace of mind.”
Qiaowai’s Chinese-language marketing material describes the project as “supported by the government, created by a star developer,” and says the project is its 87th EB-5 program.
From the customer’s perspective, car rental is a straightforward business. The only uncertainty is whether the hire company will charge you for the scratch they discover when you hand back the vehicle. Hertz Global Holdings Inc’s bankruptcy protection filing on Friday last week was a reminder that today even the simplest business models are underpinned by a lot more financial complexity than meets the eye. The proximate cause of Hertz’s demise was of course the sudden collapse in bookings caused by COVID-19 travel restrictions. The company’s monthly revenue last month fell 73 percent year-on-year, a shortfall that even the most resilient
Uber Technologies Inc, Lyft Inc and Airbnb Inc have slashed thousands of jobs. Salesforce.com Inc and Visa Inc are letting employees work remotely for months; Twitter Inc and Square Inc are allowing them to do so for good. For the companies’ hometown of San Francisco, the moves are early signs of a dire blow. In a city with a long history of booms, busts and natural calamities, the COVID-19 pandemic has suddenly upended nearly a decade of prosperity. While municipalities across the US are grappling with economic fallout from the virus, San Francisco stands to take a deeper hit given its high
BULK PURCHASE: The French chain and Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm International reached a deal covering 224 stores, which is expected to be finalized by year’s end Carrefour SA yesterday announced it would acquire Wellcome Taiwan Co (惠康百貨) for 97 million euros (US$108.33 million), and bring all the Wellcome supermarkets (頂好超市) and Jasons Market Place stores nationwide under its banner within 12 months of the deal closing. The France-based hypermarket chain reached an agreement with Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm International Holdings (牛奶國際控股), the pan-Asian retailer that launched Wellcome Taiwan in 1987. The transaction involves 199 Wellcome supermarkets, which have average sales areas of 420m2 and 25 high-end Jasons Market Place stores, which have an average sales area of 820m2, as well as a warehouse in Taoyuan, Carrefour Taiwan (家樂福)
‘ONE-STOP SHOP’: A Miaoli official said that the factory in the Jhunan section of the Hsinchu Science Park would create more than 1,000 jobs and boost prosperity A new high-end IC packaging and testing plant planned by contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) in Miaoli County is expected to start operations in the middle of next year, Miaoli County Commissioner Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) said. Hsu wrote on Facebook that TSMC, the world’s largest pure wafer foundry operator, would invest NT$303.2 billion (US$10.1 billion) to build the plant, the largest-ever single investment in Taiwan. However, TSMC declined to disclose the financial terms of the deal, while a company board meeting on May 12 approved a spending plan worth NT$168.2 billion as part of its investment plans. Construction of the