BEIJING: The real estate company owned by the family of US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser withdrew Friday from a sales pitch to Chinese investors after it sparked an uproar.
White House aide Jared Kushner’s sister headlined events in Beijing and Shanghai last weekend to seek more than US$150 million in investment in a US luxury apartment complex.
Nicole Kushner Meyer urged wealthy Chinese to buy stakes through the EB-5 visa program that offers US residency in exchange for at least US$500,000 investment in a US business that must also create at least 10 American jobs.
The presentation raised concern over potential conflicts of interest and set off a media firestorm in the United States. Kushner is married to Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, who also works for the White House.
On Monday, the Kushner Company apologised after it emerged that Meyer had mentioned her brother’s name during the sales pitch.
The names of Meyer and Kushner Company president Laurent Morali were on advertisements for the five-city tour that included the southern cities of Shenzhen and Guangzhou this weekend.
But a company spokesman told AFP in a brief statement on Friday: “No one from Kushner Companies will be in China this weekend.”
While the Kushner Company is not sending anyone, the weekend’s presentations were not cancelled by the host, the Chinese government-approved immigration agency QWOS.
Journalists had been asked to leave the hotel ballroom where Meyer had made her presentation in Beijing last Saturday. In Shanghai last Sunday, they were told they could not attend the “private event” even though it was publicly advertised.
Jared Kushner, 36, stepped down from the family business in January to join the US administration, in which he has far-reaching influence over both domestic and foreign policy.
The EB-5 programme was created in 1990 to help stimulate the US economy through job creation and capital investment from foreign nationals, but detractors say it puts citizenship up for sale.
Nearly 90 percent of EB-5 visas were issued to Chinese nationals in 2014, when the programme reached its quota of 10,000 visas.