Jared Kushner's sister woos China's 'golden visa' investors

Organisers barred journalists today from a publicly advertised event in Shanghai that offered Chinese investors the chance to get USA immigrant visas if they put money in a real estate project linked to the family of President Donald Trump's son-in-law. Kushner's sister spoke again on Sunday for roughly 10 minutes and mentioned her family's "humble roots".

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".

The pitch, to 100 potential investors meeting Saturday afternoon at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, highlighted the controversial EB-5 program, which offers a path to citizenship for foreigners who invest at least a half-million dollars in American development projects, the Times said. The event was hosted by Qiaowai, a Chinese immigration agency that helps Chinese families move overseas.

The EB-5 visa has been used by the Trump and Kushner family businesses. "Invest early, and you will invest under the old rules", one speaker explained.

Around a dozen clients had signed on for the new project after a Beijing event headed by Meyer on Saturday, QWOS representatives told reporters. They sent Kushner's own sister to China to make the pitch, seemingly to remind potential investors just how direct their pipeline to the Oval Office could be.

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".

The EB-5 program was created in 1990 to help stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment from foreign nationals, but detractors say it puts citizenship up for sale. The New York Times says its reporters were kicked out of the Sunday investor presentation, along with The Post.

The tagline on a brochure for the event: "Invest US$500,000 (NZ$723,000) and immigrate to the United States".

But President Donald Trump's vow to crack down on immigration, as well as criticism from members of Congress, has led to questions about the future of a program known here as the " golden visa".

"This project has stable funding, creates sufficient jobs and guarantees the safety of investors' money", according to one description quoted by the Post.

Qiaowai made note of Meyer's relationship to Trump in promotional materials, referred to the project as "Kushner1" and describes the project as "supported by the government, created by a star developer", according to Reuters.

Despite removing himself, Kushner's ties to his company continue to receive skepticism. The form described the asset as undeveloped real estate in Jersey City.

That was enough to lure Wang Yun, one Chinese investor, to the event. "That's why I doubt this project".

"O$3 rganizers grabbed a reporter's phone and backpack to try to force that person to leave", WaPo claimed in its report. A man accompanying her, growing angry, shouted, "Please leave us alone!"

Attendees were reassured by a USA lawyer that despite his tough talk on immigration, Trump was unlikely to make any changes to the EB-5 policy in the near future.

  • Jon Douglas