Thursday 22 March 2018

US at risk of scandal fatigue as the ethical swamp around deals linked to Trump grows ever murkier

Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner Photo: REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner Photo: REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Timothy O'Brien

Thanks to some fine work by two Bloomberg news reporters, David Kocieniewski and Caleb Melby, we now know that a major Chinese financial services firm may invest $4bn (€3.7bn) in a Manhattan skyscraper owned by the family of President Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner. And that Mr Kushner's family stands to take home about $500m (€471m) for itself from the transaction.

All sorts of goodies are sprinkled around this potential deal, which is being circulated to attract additional investment. It would be the biggest investment ever in a single Manhattan building. Some of the Kushner family's debt on the property would get erased for about a fifth of its value. The Kushners would become equity partners with the Chinese firm, Anbang Insurance Group.

Best of all for the Kushners, the deal would rescue the family company from the consequences of overpaying for the building, 666 Fifth Avenue, which it purchased in 2007 for $1.8bn. It would also buy out another prominent Trump political backer who invested in the building, Steve Roth of Vornado Realty, for 10 times his original investment.

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