The White House investigates whether loans to the Kushner family's real estate business have violated ethics laws following a senior management meeting with Jared Kushner in his role as Senior Consultant.
Kushner Companies received $ 325,000 from Citigroup and $ 184,000 from Apollo Global Management after executives met with Kushner in the White House, the New York Times reported last month. Kushner, the son-in-law of President Donald Trump, resigned as CEO of the family business when he succeeded Trump in the White House, but retains a large financial stake.
The US Office of Government Ethics has launched an investigation in response to a letter from a House Democrat.
"Your letter raises questions about the ethical implications of a high-level representative of the White House holding a broad portfolio of government responsibilities while having a financial interest in active business units … and meeting with potential investors and creditors in these business units . "David Apol, Acting Director of the Ethics Office, wrote in a letter dated March 22 to MEP Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.).
"I have discussed this matter with the White House Legal Department to ensure that you have begun to identify the facts necessary to determine whether a law or regulation has been violated," Apol added , "The White House informed me that he had already started this process."
The Times reported that billionaire and Apollo founder Joshua Harris met with Kushner several times while advising the Trump government on infrastructure policy. They also discussed a possible White House job for Harris, according to The Times, which did not happen. The Apollo money to refinance the mortgage on a Kushner Chicago building was three times the typical loan from Apollo's real estate lending operation, the Times reported.
Citigroup said last week in a letter to lawmakers that its Kushner Companies loan was "completely appropriate." "And was" considered "in 201
Kushner owns 6.5 percent of the Brooklyn Building, part of Kushner Companies & # 39; 39; 47.5 percent interest in the property, Citigroup letter says.
Citigroup also recently lent $ 200 million to a New Jersey building, owned in part by Kushner Companies and Jared Kushner, which has been funded by this building through the EB-5 Visa Program, which offers green cards to immigrants who invest at least $ 500,000 in certain businesses Kushner Companies' use of the visa program in another development is expected the Securities and Exchange Commission and the US Attorney's Office in Brooklyn.
Apollo lawyer Kevin Downey told CNN that the company was "dealing with the professional managers of Kushner Companies that did not include members of the Kushner family" to arrange their loan. "As far as we know, Jared Kushner played no role on behalf of the Kushner Companies in relation to the Chicago loan."
Kushner did not immediately respond to news about the ethics investigation.
Kushner's continued involvement in his family's family has led to repeated complications with his White House job. His failure to obtain a security clearance is likely to have private interests that hamper his relations with other countries and businesses.
Kushner's father met with the Qatari Finance Minister last year in New York to secure funding for the company's troubled signature, 666 Fifth Avenue, The Intercept reports. The Trump government later surprisingly supported a blockade of Qatar led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Kushner buildings are the target of lawsuits from Maryland tenants. New York City examines the company's submitted documents that misrepresented the number of pension-regulated residents in the Kushner properties.