Chinese investors mixed on Kushner project

By Li Xuanmin Source:Global Times Published: 2017/5/13 18:49:12

Wealthy Chinese investors are mixed on pouring millions of dollars into a property development project linked to the family of Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump's son-in-law, in exchange for permanent residency.

Around 150 mostly middle-aged Chinese investors attended a roadshow presentation on Saturday of two-tower luxury apartment project Kushner 1 or One Journal Square in New Jersey at the in Intercontinental Hotel in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province. 

During the three-hour presentation, a dozen more investors kept swarming in. Investors were told that the EB-5 immigration investment program calls for an investment of $500,000 each to fast-track a US green card.

The roadshow seeks to raise $150 million, or 15.4 percent of the project funding from wealthy Chinese. 

EB-5 is an immigration program that allows foreigners to invest in US projects that create jobs in exchange for permanent US residency.

Potential investors were required to reserve in advance to participate in the presentation, several participants told the Global Times on Saturday. 

"I made a call to immigration agency Qiaowai, the event organizer, on Tuesday, and the salesperson asked me if I have around 4 million yuan ($ 57,994.54) in cash in the bank," a potential investor said, noting that when he said yes, the salesperson also asked him whether or not he could prove his money was legitimately acquired.  

A 40-year-old investor from Chengdu, capital of Southwest China's Sichuan Province, said she was flying to Shenzhen Saturday morning after she saw media reports about the event. "I have three children, one was born in the US, I was considering applying for the EB-8 immigration visa for my two other children," she told the Global Times on Saturday.

When asked about the risks involved with the project jointly developed by Kushner Companies and KABR Group, she said that both she and her husband think the project is "reliable" because Trump is involved, and therefore has government backing.

"That's why I made the trip," she said after talking with a salesperson from Qiaowai. 

Another woman in her 30s from Shenzhen said she has looked into several projects offered by Qiaowai, and a saleswoman recommend that she participate in the event because the project is now the "hottest" one under the EB-5 program.

"I was worried I may not get anything back, because Qiaowai did not provide me with any guarantee on getting a visa application," she told the Global Times on Saturday. 

To lure investors, a marketing kit the Global Times obtained also includes a copy of "the approving preliminary and final major site plan with deviations," which shows that the Planning Board of City of Jersey City has approved the project. It claims the property can create 6,616 jobs. 

The material also highlighted the huge potential of New Jersey, crediting the city as "one of the fastest-growing in the US and enjoys convenient transportation to places like Manhattan." 

As in previous roadshow cities in China, journalists were barred from attending the event, some forced out of the hall during the presentation. But investors who attended told the Global Times that nobody from the Kushner Companies, including Kushner's sister Nicole Meyer, who appeared in the Beijing and Shanghai presentations last week, showed up in Shenzhen. 

"I am kind of disappointed [that Meyer did not attend this event]," the investor from Chengdu complained.

The absence of members of the Kushner family is linked to increasing concerns in the US over "conflicts of interest," which suggest that the Kushner family capitalizing on its close ties with the White House, media reports said. 

A White House spokesperson said earlier this week that "Jared has done everything to comply with ethics rules, and that the project had nothing to do with him," the Washington Post reported. 

In May, Trump signed a budget deal which included an extension of the EB-5 visa's authorization till October.

Posted in: COMPANIES

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