According to the Wall Street Journal, the Securities and Exchange Commission opened a previously-unreported investigation last year into Kushner Cos., the real-estate company owned by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, who is the son-in-law of President Donald Trump. The investigation is not related in any way to the investigation currently being conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and is being conducted in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Brooklyn, N.Y.
What's the investigation about?
Kushner Cos. is under investigation by federal authorities for at least two 2016 transactions, including a $285 million loan the company received from Deutsche Bank in October 2016. Separately, the SEC and U.S. Attorney's Office are now investigating Kushner Cos. for the company's use of the EB-5 visa program, which allows wealthy foreign citizens to essentially purchase a green card in exchange for investing at least $500,000 in certain projects conducted by United States companies. Immigration hawks have long claimed that the EB-5 program is rife with fraud and abuse.
Kushner Cos. apparently caught the eye of federal regulators with an aggressive marketing campaign in Beijing and Shanghai that was designed to attract investors to finance the construction of a high-rise apartment building in Jersey City, N.J.
Neither the SEC nor the U.S. Attorneys' office in Brooklyn commented on the investigation to the Wall Street Journal. A spokesman for Kushner Cos. confirmed that the company is cooperating with the investigations, but denied any wrongdoing, stating, "Kushner Cos. utilized the program, fully complied with its rules and regulations, and did nothing improper. We are cooperating with legal requests for information."
Kushner Cos. is not a publicly-traded company, but the SEC has jurisdiction to investigate the transaction because EB-5 investments are considered securities offerings, according to the WSJ.
The SEC investigation is reportedly being run out of a Texas field office, and is being run in collaboration with the U.S. Attorney's office in Brooklyn, which is also investigating the matter.