SHANGHAI Organizers barred journalists on Sunday from a publicly advertised event in Shanghai that offered Chinese investors the chance to get U.S. immigrant visas if they put money in a real estate project linked to the family of President Donald Trump's son-in-law.
The two-tower luxury apartment complex in New Jersey, One Journal Square, is being developed by KABR Group and the Kushner Companies, which until recently was headed by senior White House advisor Jared Kushner, the husband of Trump's daughter Ivanka.
The developers are seeking to raise $150 million, or 15.4 percent of funding for the project, from investors through the EB-5 visa program, according to marketing materials posted by the event's organizer, immigration agency Qiaowai.
The controversial EB-5 program allows wealthy foreigners to, in effect, buy U.S. immigration visas for themselves and families by investing at least $500,000 in certain development projects.
"Sorry, this is a private event," said a man stopping journalists from entering a function room on Sunday afternoon at the Four Seasons Hotel in Shanghai.
Guests at the event said Kushner's sister, Nicole Kushner Meyer, spoke for about 10 minutes, including about her family's humble roots.
According to the New York Times, Meyer attended a similar event in Beijing on Saturday and told the audience of about 100 people the project "means a lot to me and my entire family".
Jared Kushner, whose White House portfolio includes relations with China, sold his stake in Kushner Companies to a family trust early this year. His lawyer said in a statement in March that Kushner was fully complying with ethics rules, removing himself from active participation in his prior businesses and divesting assets.
A Kushner Companies spokeswoman declined to comment in a New York Times article about the Beijing event published on Saturday.
The Times story said Meyer did not respond when asked if she was concerned about possible conflicts of interest facing her brother. Journalists from the Times and Washington Post were removed from Saturday's Beijing event, the newspapers reported.
POPULAR WITH WEALTHY CHINESE
One potential investor, Sophie Xing, said a "very important" factor in her decision to attend Sunday's event was the fact that the project was a Kushner Companies investment and that Trump's son-in-law's sister would be showing up in Shanghai.
"Actually I really don't know how close they are but I felt that this was a pretty good project," she said....