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

20 Mai 2017

The Beijing leg ignited controversy in the United States over whether Kushner, who is a senior White House adviser and US President Donald Trump, is involved in the project and the immigrant investor visa programme. The company is seeking 300 aspiring USA 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 questioning immigration, Trump hasn't raised the EB-5 program.

CNN Money reported that Kushner's sister, Nicole Kushner Meyer, spoke at the event on Saturday in Beijing and was seeking wealthy investors for a Kushner-owned property in New Jersey - One Journal Square, a residential and commercial project underway in New Jersey.

Meyer noted that if investors put at least $500,000 into the Kushner-family backed project, they could qualify for an EB-5 visa. As the Post noted, she encouraged investors to apply for U.S. residency through the EB-5 visa program-a controversial initiative that was renewed the day before in federal spending legislation signed into law by President Trump.

A similar conference was held in Shanghai on Sunday.

Almost 90 per cent of EB-5 visas were issued to Chinese nationals in 2014, when the programme reached its quota of 10,000 visas. A spokesperson for the company and Meyer subsequently apologized and denied that "mention of her brother was in any way interpreted as an attempt to lure investors".

Meyer is a sister of White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, and a principal with Kushner Companies.

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Many G-7 countries had been particularly concerned about the USA rolling out a border tax that could choke exports to the country. Trade issues are likely to be taken up at a G-7 leaders' summit on May 26 to 27 in Taormina, Sicily, that Trump will attend.

Washington Post China correspondent Emily Rauhala was the presentation in Beijing.

His point was that there's the appearance of the Kushners implying that if you invest with us, we'll make sure to get you a visa because of our connections with the Trump administration.

Under the visa program, entrepreneurs (along with their spouses and unmarried children under 21) are eligible to apply for a green card if they make the necessary investment in a commercial enterprise in the US and plan to create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified USA workers. The pitch would reportedly take advantage of a USA visa program that, according to Bloomberg, has benefited both the Trump and Kushner real estate businesses in the past.

Jared Kushner has stepped away from the business since taking a key role in Trump's White House. His wife is Ivanka Trump. The reforms included efforts to revive that the program's original intent of providing investment in rural and distressed urban areas.

On Sunday Meyer was introduced in Chinese to investors as a representative of "a famed celebrity investment family".

KEITH: Steve Park is a partner at the law firm Ballard Spahr and specializes in the EB-5 program, working on both real estate projects and even with some manufacturers. A 2013 Homeland Security Department investigation cited risks that Iranian intelligence operatives may have exploited the program, and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services found numerous fraudulent documents when it audited a sampling of investors' green card applications. "Later, as investors started leaving the ballroom, organizers physically surrounded attendees to prevent them from giving interviews".