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Reporters barred from China event seeking investment in Kushner project

17 May 2017

His family's promotional efforts in China come amid widespread criticism of the EB-5 visa program, which has grown popular among wealthy foreigners seeking to move to the US but faces allegations of fraud and misuse.

The controversial EB-5 program allows wealthy foreigners to, in effect, buy USA immigration visas for themselves and families by investing at least $500,000 in certain development projects.

"Ms. Meyer wanted to make clear that her brother had stepped away from the company in January and has nothing to do with this project", the company said in a statement.

Nicole Meyer, Kushner's sister, said Monday through a spokesperson that she was sorry if anyone misinterpreted her mention of her brother. "That was not Ms Meyer's intention".

Critics have blasted the Kushner Companies' sales pitches in China, saying they are a new example of how the Trump administration is using its position to boost its business interests.

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Witnesses have said the presentation included pictures of Mr. Trump and referenced Jared Kushner specifically. At a Sunday presentation in Shanghai, security guards barred all media.

"We have every reason to believe there will continue to be a lot of demand for visas for the USA from Chinese investors", said Dave Platter, global communications director at Juwai.com, a property search engine that lists real estate around the world for Chinese buyers.

Allegations of self-dealing have particularly sprung up in relation to China, which was heavily criticized by President Trump during and after last year's campaign.

"Invest $500,000 and immigrate to the United States", reads the tag line on a brochure for an investment event.

Another speaker at the Beijing conference told the audience to invest soon, in case the Trump administration changes rules for visas, according to the Washington Post.

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Almost 7,000 EB-5 visas were issued to Mainland Chinese investors previous year, making them the number one nationality in the allocation, according to State Department data. Emily Rauhala is a reporter for The Washington Post who was there in the ballroom.

And Kushner's attorney said he has divested his interests in the project and will recuse himself from matters concerning EB-5. "Congress should cancel EB-5 visa program if Kushner properties not disqualified", he tweeted. Descriptions of the conference suggest that it was an event where Meyer was trying to persuade the room to get investor visas and provide a sizable amount of funding for two skyscraper projects in New Jersey.

A Kushner Companies spokeswoman declined to comment in a New York Times article about the Beijing event published on Saturday.

In Beijing on Saturday, potential investors in the Kushner project were told they should act quickly because the minimum investment for the EB-5 program could go up. A White House spokesman said it continues to assess its options.

Through slideshows and presentations, hundreds of attendees at both events, held by Chinese immigration firm QWOS, were solicited to invest in a luxury New Jersey apartment complex.

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Critics say numerous investments purportedly aimed at assisting poor areas of the US have instead wound up going to projects in more affluent neighborhoods, while many programs have been badly hit by fraud scandals.

Reporters barred from China event seeking investment in Kushner project