Reporters barred from Kushner Companies' visa-for-investment event in China

Nicole Kushner Meyer, Jared Kushner's sister, spoke at an event in Beijing on Saturday where she urged to invest in the development of the 1 Journal Square, a $976.4 million residential and commercial project in New Jersey owned by the family and come to the U.S. on a so-called EB-5 visa, reports CNN.

The events are jointly organised by Kushner Companies, which Jared Kushner was associated with until he joined the U.S. administration this year, and mainland migration agency - Qiaowai, the report said.

Richard Painter, the former chief White House ethics lawyer during George W Bush's administration, told the Washington Post the bid to seduce Chinese investors was "incredibly stupid and highly inappropriate".

EB-5 visas allow immigrants a path to a green card if they create jobs in the United States by investing more than $500,000 in a project.

"Invest $500,000 and immigrate to the United States", reads the tag line on a brochure for an investment event.

While a member of Trump's family casually tossing out their connections to the administration to promote their business is bad enough, this again raises questions of a conflict of interest for Kushner.

At the event in Beijing, representatives of a Kushner family business told Chinese investors that the old immigration rules may change under Trump, who has taken a tougher stance on immigration.

There were also efforts at the event, hosted by the Chinese company Qiaowai, to limit access to the media. "Later, as investors started leaving the ballroom, organizers physically surrounded attendees to stop them from giving interviews". The future of the program, however, is uncertain given the president's campaign promise - and subsequent actions after taking office - to curb immigration into the US.

Journalists were barred this week from an event in Shanghai that sought Chinese investment in a luxury apartment complex in New Jersey being developed by KABR Group and the Kushner Companies.

A Government Accountability Office report in 2015 found the EB-5 program carried a high risk of fraud, was rife with counterfeit documentation and had "no reliable method to verify the source of the funds of petitioners".

Promotional materials at that event made note of the Kushner family's "celebrity" status, but did not mention the president specifically, according to The Washington Post.

Kushner still holds some of his stakes in Kushner Companies even after accepting a White House role that has him involved in foreign affairs.

Kushner's sister Nicole Meyer promoted a Kushner Companies' development in Jersey City at an event Sunday at the Four Seasons Hotel in Shanghai.

"Even though this is the project of the son-in-law's family, of course it is still affiliated", Wang said.

At one point, organizers grabbed a reporter's phone and backpack to try to force that person to leave. "Leave us alone!" her entourage yelled. "That's why I doubt this project", Wang said. Meanwhile, if you're an American eager to get your hands on some of the untold billions sloshing around among foreign oligarchs in China, Russia, or wherever, the number of actual jobs your project ultimately generates or whether your project is legitimate in the first place may be, shall we say, secondary concerns.

  • Rogelio Becker