Kushner Companies Close To Receiving Bailout From Qatari Government-Owned Firm, Raising Conflict Of Interest Concerns
The businesses managed by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner‘s family is nearing a deal to receive a bailout from a firm that is financially linked to the Qatari government, according to a New York Times report on Thursday.
Kushner Businesses To Be Bailed Out by Qatar
Jared’s father Charles Kushner, the founder of Kushner Companies, is reportedly negotiating with Brookfield Asset Management for a partnership to gain control of the company’s towering flagship building in Manhattan, New York.
Brookfield’s real estate arm, Brookfield Property Partners, is partly owned by the Government of Qatar, through the country’s Investment Authority.
Brookfield Property Partners is a Canadian firm. According to The Washington Post, Brookfield made clear in a statement that “no Qatar-linked entity has any involvement in, investment in or even knowledge of this potential transaction.”
Jared and Charles Kushner purchased the 41-story New York City tower in 2007 for a record $1.8 billion. However, the building now yields only about half of its yearly mortgage cost, and much of the tower is empty.
In 2005, Charles Kushner was sentenced to prison after being convicted of witness tampering and tax evasion. He thus handed management duties of his businesses to Jared.
The bailout agreement could potentially raise questions about conflicts of interest, since Jared Kushner holds an important position as White House adviser. President Donald Trump has entrusted his son-in-law with handling several major issues, including helping to negotiate peace in the Middle East and to assist in defeating ISIS.
According to several reports from early last year, when Kushner was first named as White Hose adviser, the 37-year-old was also tasked with reforming the criminal justice system, reforming veteran care, and dealing with the opioid epidemic. He reportedly receives no salary for his job in Washington, and vowed to resign from his job in New York real estate and to partially divest from his business assets when he arrived in D.C.
Kushner also spoke earlier this week at the opening ceremony of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. The embassy was previously located in Tel Aviv and its move drew the ire of many Palestinians, more than 50 of whom were killed in violent protests this week along the border with Gaza.
In February, Kushner lost his top-secret security clearance due to concerns that foreign countries could try to obtain influence with Washington by doing business with his company. He reportedly fought about this issue with White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.
Earlier this year, it was revealed that Kushner Companies received big loans from several companies in 2017 — including a $184 million loan from Apollo Global Management and a $325 million loan from Citigroup — while Jared Kushner was advising the White House on infrastructure policy.
The White House Counsel’s office began probing the legality of those loans to the Kushner businesses in March.
In January, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) renewed an investigation into the Kushner Companies’ use of a visa program that allowed 10,000 immigrant visas every year. The program was reportedly intended to promote foreign investment in developing regions and to create jobs in the U.S.
It was also revealed in May 2017 that over the last ten years, Chinese investors had bought around 40,000 U.S. visas for at least $7.7 billion via the program.
In 2014, Qatar’s Investment Authority purchased a $1.8 billion stake in Brookfield Property Partners.
Government ethics filings show that Kushner’s real estate holdings and other investments have a total value of around $761 million.