Senior White House advisor Jared Kushner is facing fresh scrutiny for financial conflicts-of-interests as a company co-founded by the president’s son-on-law seeks at least $100 million from the Middle East.
Upon entering the administration, Kushner did not divest his investment in Cadre, a real estate technology startup. The most recent financial disclosure form values his stake in the company between $5 million and $25 million.
Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that Cadre is seeking over $100 million from the SoftBank Vision Fund, which receives almost half of it’s money from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
The United Arab Emirates has also invested at least $15 billion in SoftBank.
People close to the company are denying that Jared or his younger brother Josh have taken part in the discussions with SoftBank.
“For more than a year and a half, Mr. Kushner has removed himself from the operations and direction of Cadre,” Kushner’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, told Bloomberg. “Like many others, he is merely a passive investor, and has not taken part in any negotiations for any investments.”
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed an ethics complaint against Kushner for failing to reveal his interest in Cadre on his initial financial disclosure form. Kushner revised his disclosure to show his investment, valued at over $5 million.
“This kind of an arrangement, where a high-ranking U.S. government official can personally profit from a foreign government, is exactly why we filed the ethics complaint and it is exactly what the emoluments clause of the constitution was written to prevent,” said Virginia Canter, a lawyer at CREW. “If a foreign government wants to try to buy favors and influence U.S. policy, this is the way to do it.”
Financing from the Middle East is also problematic for Kushner as he has been chosen by President Trump to bring peace to the region.
Special counsel Robert Mueller is also investigating an August 3, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower where George Nader was allegedly representing the interests of the crown princes of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has reportedly bragged about having Kushner “in his pocket.”