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Kushner Companies Seen Hawking Shady U.S. Visa Buying Residency Program to Wealthy Chinese

by Michael Krieger, Liberty Blitzkrieg:

When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.

– Frédéric Bastiat

I’ve written about the EB-5 visa program previously, something I consider a total racket that allows wealthy foreigners to buy their way into U.S. residency while funding real estate catering to, you guessed it, wealthy Americans. It’s more or less a system by which really rich people abuse a government program simply to help out other really rich people. What a country.

This wasn’t always the case. In fact the EB-5 visa program was originally meant to connect wealthy foreigns with projects to help the less fortunate here at home. Naturally, the entire thing has been completely corrupted.

As I noted in the 2015 post, More American Cronyism – U.S. Government Selling Visas to Fund Luxury Apartment Buildings:

Merging, on paper, the affluent midtown neighborhood and the struggling one uptown placed Hudson Yards in a community with an overall high unemployment rate, positioning developer Related Cos. to gain low-cost financing from foreigners seeking green cards.

The program through which that happens, known as EB-5, enables foreign nationals to obtain U.S. permanent-resident status by putting up money for new business ventures that create American jobs. It gives ventures in high-unemployment and rural areas a special status to encourage investment. But as the program’s popularity has soared in recent years, the bulk of immigrant investment is going to projects that are located, like $20 billion Hudson Yards, in prosperous urban neighborhoods.

At least 80% of EB-5 money is going to projects that wouldn’t qualify as being in Targeted Employment Areas without “some form of gerrymandering,” estimates Michael Gibson, managing director of USAdvisors.org, which evaluates projects for foreign investors.

Increasingly, the money appears to be flowing to the flashiest projects, which the investors often see as safest, EB-5 professionals say. Among those getting EB-5 money are an office building set to host Facebook Inc. near Amazon.com Inc.’s Seattle headquarters, a boutique hotel in high-end Miami Beach, and a slim Four Seasons condo-hotel in lower Manhattan that sports a penthouse with an asking price above $60 million. In all of them, geographic districts were crafted to include higher-unemployment areas.

The Kushner Companies have been taking advantage of this program for years, and continue to do so despite Donald Trump being the current U.S. President.

As reported by The Washington Post:

Over several hours of slide shows and presentations, representatives from the Kushner family business urged Chinese citizens gathered at a Ritz-Carlton hotel to consider investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in a New Jersey luxury apartment complex that would help them secure what’s known as an investor visa.

The tagline on a brochure for the event: “Invest $500,000 and immigrate to the United States.”

And the highlight of the afternoon was Meyer, a principal for the company, who was introduced in promotional materials as Jared’s sister.

The event underscores the extent to which Kushner’s private business interests have the potential to collide with his powerful role as a top official in his father-in-law’s White House, particularly when it comes to China, where Kushner has become a crucial diplomatic channel between Beijing and the new administration.

The EB-5 immigrant investor visa program that Meyer discussed Saturday allows rich foreign investors who are willing to plunk down large investments in U.S. projects that create jobs to apply to immigrate to the United States.

Bloomberg News reported in March 2016 that the program has been used to the benefit both the Trump and Kushner family businesses. Before joining the White House, as chief executive of his family’s real estate company, Jared Kushner raised $50 million from Chinese EB-5 applicants for a Trump-branded apartment building in Jersey City, according to the report.

The EB-5 program has been criticized by members of Congress from both parties who have said the program in essence sells visas to the wealthiest foreigners.

The program has been extremely popular among rich Chinese, who call it the “golden visa” and are eager to get their families — and their wealth — out of the country. The fact that some use it to move their money out illegally, however, has made the program unpopular with the Chinese authorities.

The program was launched with the goal of securing investment and creating jobs. But instead, in recent years, many real estate developers have used the program as a source of cheap financing by using foreign investors, especially from China, for flashy projects in Manhattan and other city centers.

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 program, however, is especially popular in China, with estimates in recent years showing that more than 80 percent of EB-5 visas were issued to Chinese investors.

Saturday’s event in Beijing was hosted by the Chinese company Qiaowai, which connects U.S. companies with Chinese investors. Qiaowai is working with the Kushner company to secure funding for Kushner 1, the New Jersey project presented to investors, also known as One Journal Square. Promotional materials tout the buildings’ proximity to Manhattan and note that the project will create more than 6,000 jobs.

At Saturday’s event, attendee Wang Yun, a Chinese investor, said the Kushner family’s ties to Trump were an obvious part of the project’s appeal.

“Even though this is the project of the son-in-law’s family, of course it is still affiliated,” Wang said.

Although the event was publicly advertised in Beijing, the hosts were exceptionally anxious about the presence of reporters.

At one point, organizers grabbed a reporter’s phone and backpack to try to force that person to leave. Later, as investors started leaving the ballroom, organizers physically surrounded attendees to prevent them from giving interviews.

The day after the above described Beijing event, the Kushner Companies held another in Shanghai.

Read More @ LibertyBlitzkrieg.com

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