Jared Kushner’s White House meetings under scrutiny after his family company receives $500 million in loans

Jared Kushner’s use of his government role is under scrutiny after it emerged his family company secured more than $500 million in loans after financial executives met with him at the White House.

Mr Kushner, who is Donald Trump’s son-in-law, stepped down as chief executive of his family company to take up his role as a senior adviser to the US president after the 2016 election victory.

However it has since emerged that last year his company secured two loans – $325 million from Citigroup and $184 million from Apollo Global Management – after executives from both firms visited him in the White House.

It is highly unusual for White House officials to conduct meetings with executives who are also engaged in significant private business dealings and Mr Kushner’s judgement has been called into question by government ethics experts.

It comes as Mr Kushner was stripped of his access to “top secret” intelligence because he has failed to gain permanent security clearance more than a year in his role.

Mr Kushner’s financial dealings and concerns that foreign governments might try to influence him are thought to have formed part of the delay in his background check.

The 37-year-old, who is married to Mr Trump’s daughter Ivanka, previously headed up the family business Kushner Companies before passing control on to relatives when he entered the White House.

The company bought an office tower on Fifth Avenue in New York for $1.8 billion in 2007, just before the financial crisis of 2008.

The company reportedly has $1.2 billion in debt that is due in January 2019, with Mr Kushner said to have been attempting to secure new investment before he entered office.

Joshua Harris, co-founder of Apollo Global Management Credit:

Joshua Harris, one of Apollo’s founders, made regular visits to the White House in the first half of last year to advise the Trump administration on infrastructure policy.

During that time he also met Mr Kushner on "multiple occasions" and discussed a possible role in the White House, according to the New York Times

The job did not materialise, but last November Apollo lent Mr Kushner’s company $184 million for mortgage payments on one of their properties in Chicago. The loan appears to be three times the size of Apollo’s average property loans and one of the largest Kushner Companies received last year.

Meanwhile Citigroup gave the company a $325 million loan shortly after its chief executive, Michael L Corbat, met with Mr Kushner at the White House.

Michael Corbat, chief executive officer of Citigroup Credit:
 Drew Angerer

Don Fox, the former acting director of the Office of Government Ethics during the Obama administration, has questioned Mr Kushner’s decisions to hold the meetings alongside his companies business dealings.

“Senior government officials, for as long back as I have any experience, don’t maintain any active outside business interests,” he told the Times. “The appearance of conflicts of interest is simply too great.”

Peter Mirijanian, a spokesman for Mr Kushner’s lawyer, said: “Mr Kushner has met with hundreds of business people during the campaign, transition and in the Administration to hear ideas about improving the American economy.  

“He has had no role in the Kushner Companies since joining the government and has taken no part of any business, loans, or projects with or for the Companies after that.  He has followed the ethics advice he has received for all of his work which include the separation from his business and recusals when appropriate.”

Both Citigroup and Apollo have denied the meetings were linked to the loans they provided to Kushner Companies.

A spokeswoman for Citigroup highlighted the fact that Kushner Companies had been a client since before the presidential election and their recent loan was negotiated through a business partner of the company.

Meanwhile, while a spokesperson for Apollo said its co-founder Mr Harris had no involvement with its decision making process to loan money to Mr Kushner’s family business.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *