January 29, 2023

HUNTER WHO? Jared Kushner under investigation for foreign finance deals

HUNTER WHO? Jared Kushner under investigation for foreign finance deals

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Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner took on an advisory role during Trump’s White House years, and now his financial activities during that time are under investigation, as two Congressional Committees seek information on whether he improperly used his position for personal gain.

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The Senate Finance Committee and House Oversight Committee are asking the Department of Defense and Department of State to turn over documents relating to Kushner’s roles in foreign policy during the same time period when his family’s business was seeking a bailout on an office building in Manhattan.

The Committees have received documents showing that the deal between Kushner’s father, Charles, and Brookfield Asset Management, a company with financial backing from Qatar, was negotiated at an earlier point than was previously known, coinciding more closely with the Trump Administration’s support for ending a Saudi Arabian–Emirati blockade against Qatar.

They hope to receive additional documents that will clarify whether Kushner was advising Trump on the Qatar blockade decision and whether his influence was tied to the financial boon — a significant one, in the form of a 99-year lease, paid up front, that helped the Kushner family avoid defaulting on loan payments.

From the Senate Finance Committee’s release:

“The investigation seeks to understand Mr. Kushner’s influence on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and a wide range of matters directly affecting Brookfield while his father Charles Kushner was negotiating a major transaction with the firm. Federal criminal conflict of interest laws prohibit senior White House officials from participating in matters directly affecting their own financial interest.”

The Associated Press reported on the deal between Brookfield and the Kushner family in August of 2018, describing the building involved as a “money-losing Manhattan skyscraper,” and the deal as “eas[ing] the pressure on Kushner Cos.”

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The building was reportedly renting only about 2/3 of its office space and had a $1.2 billion mortgage coming due in the next year.

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The deal with Brookfield, which is a Canadian company, came only after efforts to seek funding from other foreign sources, including a Chinese insurer, a Saudi investor, and a South Korean fund.

CNBC reported that the Trump Administration called for an end to the Qatar blockade in April of the same year — seemingly several months before the Kushner deal.

However, the new information uncovered by the Congressional Committees suggests that the deal with Brookfield was in negotiation much earlier in the year, and could have involved influence on Trump’s foreign policy decisions

Steph Bazzle covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph.

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