According to the Wall Street Journal, federal prosecutors in New York have broadened their investigation into Kushner Cos., the real estate company owned by the family of White House Special Adviser Jared Kushner. The company has been under investigation since at least May for its use of the EB-5 "investment-for-immigration" visa program. The Wall Street Journal reports that prosecutors are also now looking into a $285 million loan granted to the company by Deutsche Bank AG in October of 2016.
The original investigation centered around the construction of a Jersey City, N.J. real estate project known as One Journal Square. The project was financed in part with proceeds from the EB-5 visa program, which allows foreign nationals to obtain a green card in exchange for an investment of at least $500,000 in certain qualifying American projects. Historically, most EB-5 visas have gone to wealthy Chinese nationals, and immigration hawks have long charged that the program is rife with fraud and abuse. In materials obtained by the Wall Street Journal, Kushner Cos. aggressively marketed the project in China, claiming that they had up to 300 EB-5 visas available for potential investors.
The Brooklyn U.S. Attorney's Office has refused to comment on the investigation, but a Kushner Cos. spokesman confirmed in August that the company was cooperating with requests for information related to its use of the program. It is not clear what potential violations are under investigation.
It is likewise not clear what potential violations the U.S. Attorney's Office is now investigating with respect to the Deutsche Bank loan, as the office has once again refused all requests for comment. A spokesman for Kushner Cos. told the WSJ that the company "has cooperated and will continue to cooperate with any reasonable request for information."
At the time of the transaction that is currently under investigation, Jared Kushner was CEO of Kushner Cos. He has since resigned his position with the company and divested part of his ownership interest. When the transaction became the subject of media scrutiny in June of this year, Kushner revealed that he is recusing himself from all matters involving Deutsche Bank that come before the White House, due to the fact that he has provided personal guarantees on loans from Deutsche Bank, and maintains a personal line of credit with the bank.
Deutsche Bank refused the Wall Street Journal's request for comment on the story or the loan.