A high-rolling real estate firm co-founded by Jared Kushner received some $90 million in anonymous foreign investment, some of it from Saudi Arabia, since Kushner started working at the White House, The Guardian newspaper reported Monday.
Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and special adviser, co-founded in 2014 the real estate investment firm Cadre. He resigned from its board and reduced his stake to less than 25 percent after he joined the Trump Administration in 2017, the report said, but initially failed to declare Cadre in an ethics disclosure, adding it later as an “inadvertent” omission.
Sources familiar with the firm said much of foreign investment in the firm was funneled through the Cayman Islands, a well-known offshore tax haven, in transactions via Goldman Sachs, and at least $1 million of the funds originated in Saudi Arabia.
With his investment in Cadre now worth between $25-50 million according to financial disclosure documents filed in May 2018, an ethics expert voiced concern that the anonymous foreign funding with the lack of transparency around the investments could result in conflicts of interest for Kushner.
“It will cause people to wonder whether he is being improperly influenced,” Jessica Tillipman, a lecturer at George Washington University law school who teaches government ethics and anti-corruption laws told The Guardian.
Cadre’s website says it has “$50 billion in real estate transaction experience” and deals with “institutional-grade real estate investments.”
In 2017 the Wall Street Journal reported that Kushner failed to report his Cadre investment, as well as loans from banks totaling at least $1 billion on properties and companies he partly owns.
Last year, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reportedly bragged that he had Kushner “in his pocket.”
Cadre is also involved in investment funds for Trump’s Opportunity Zone program, announced in 2017, which offers massive tax breaks to developers who invest in downtrodden American communities. That program is promoted by Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, Kushner’s wife, raising concerns that her promotion of Opportunity Zone could also benefit the Kushners financially.
Government watchdogs at the time said that case underscored the ethical minefield the Kushners created when they became two of the closest advisers to the president without divesting from their extensive real estate investments.