Things that make you go hmmm
A company owned by the family of President Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is prepared to receive more than $400 million from Anbang Insurance Group, a Chinese firm that is investing in the Kushners' office tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. While Jared Kushner previously sold his ownership of the building to his family, the deal is nevertheless raising concerns about everything from potential conflicts of interest to espionage, Bloomberg reports.
Some real estate experts described the deal with Anbang as "unusually favorable for the Kushners," Bloomberg adds. Additionally, "the company's ties to the Chinese government are sufficiently unclear that former President Barack Obama declined to stay at the Waldorf [Astoria] after Anbang bought it because of fears of espionage," Bloomberg writes. "Now Anbang will be business partners with in-laws of the First Family."
A Kushner spokesperson protested that the transaction will not be a conflict with Jared Kushner's role in the White House: "Kushner Companies has taken significant steps to avoid potential conflicts and will continue to do so," the spokesperson said. Anbang additionally called itself a "highly transparent company that operates in accordance to the standards of public companies and strictly abides by applicable regulatory requirement" in a statement.
But that doesn't convince everyone. "At the very least, this raises serious questions about the appearance of a conflict that arises from the possibility that the Kushners are getting a sweetheart deal," said Larry Noble, the general counsel at the Campaign Legal Center. "A classic way you influence people is by financially helping their family."