Kushners subpoenaed over use of foreign visa program

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The family business of Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and top White House advisor, has reportedly been subpoenaed over its use of the EB-5 federal visa program, which provides green cards to immigrants who invest at least $500,000 in U.S. businesses.

According to a report by The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, Kushner Companies, a property development business in New York, is under review by New York federal prosecutors over at least one property in Jersey City, New Jersey: two 66-floor towers called One Journal Square. The commercial and residential project was reportedly financed in part by the EB-5 federal visa program.

The subpoena, sent in May, reportedly included a demand for email documentation but exactly what violations are being alleged is unclear.

“Kushner Companies utilized the program, fully complied with its rules and regulations, and did nothing improper. We are cooperating with legal requests for information,” stated Emily Wolf, Kushner Companies’ general counsel.

In May, Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, called for Homeland Security to launch an investigation into claims made by Chinese firm Qiaowai about the marketing of the One Journal Square property to potential Chinese investors.

Kushner Companies and Qiaowai have reportedly used the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program to entice Chinese investors to buy into the luxury apartment project. Qiaowai also reportedly boasted about its connections to President Trump via Kushner and promised clients that their visas would surely be approved as a result.

The Wall Street Journal noted that Kushner Cos. had also used the EB-5 visa program for another Jersey City project called Trump Bay Street.

The biggest share of EB-5 visas is snatched up by wealthy Chinese citizens, which gives them a green card to live and work in the country indefinitely. The U.S. government has a limitation of 10,000 EB-5 visas per year.

Jared Kushner’s sister, Nicole Meyer, led the marketing pitch to Chinese investors, which reportedly included a video and photo of President Trump and a mention of Jared Kushner, as well, The New York Times reported.

Kushner Companies released a statement clarifying that Jared Kushner had nothing to do with the project, and has canceled additional presentations to the Chinese.

“Ms. Meyer wanted to make clear that her brother had stepped away from the company in January and has nothing to do with this project. Kushner Companies apologizes if that mention of her brother was in any way interpreted as an attempt to lure investors. That was not Ms. Meyer’s intention,” the statement read.

Jared Kushner was involved in the family business prior to the 2016 presidential election, but resigned from the business and sold his stake in some projects to family members and others. He disclosed that he received between $1 million and $5 million in capital gains on the One Journal Square property in Jersey City.

According to the WSJ, Kushner’s personal attorney said Wednesday that Kushner has recused himself “from matters concerning the EB-5 programs.”

In June, The Washington Post reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating the business activities of Jared Kushner.

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