The New York Times Quotes Matthew Sanderson: Jared Kushner, a Trump In-Law and Adviser, Chases a Chinese Deal
On the night of November 16, a group of executives gathered in a private dining room of the restaurant La Chine at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Midtown Manhattan. The table was laden with Chinese delicacies and $2,100 bottles of Château Lafite Rothschild. At one end sat Wu Xiaohui, the chairman of the Waldorf’s owner, Anbang Insurance Group, a Chinese financial behemoth with estimated assets of $285 billion and an ownership structure shrouded in mystery. Close by sat Jared Kushner, a major New York real estate investor whose father-in-law, Donald J. Trump, had just been elected president of the United States.
Matthew T. Sanderson, a lawyer at Caplin & Drysdale and former general counsel to Senator Rand Paul’s presidential campaign, said deals like the one with Anbang “might not be illegal under the conflict-of-interest rules, but raise a strong appearance that a foreign entity is using Mr. Kushner’s business to try to influence U.S. policy.”
Mr. Wu and Mr. Kushner — who is married to Mr. Trump’s daughter Ivanka and is one of his closest advisers — were nearing agreement on a joint venture in Manhattan: the redevelopment of 666 Fifth Avenue, the fading crown jewel of the Kushner family real-estate empire. Anbang, which has close ties to the Chinese state, has seen its aggressive efforts to buy up hotels in the United States slowed amid concerns raised by Obama administration officials who review foreign investments for national security risk.
Without knowing details of Mr. Kushner’s holdings and divestiture plans, Mr. Sanderson said, the merits of his proposal are hard to assess. Even if he divests his stake in certain properties, Mr. Sanderson added, “it strikes me as a half-measure” that “still poses a real conflict-of-interest issue and would be a drag on Mr. Trump’s presidency and cause the American people to question Mr. Kushner’s role in policy making.”
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Excerpt taken from the article “Jared Kushner, a Trump In-Law and Adviser, Chases a Chinese Deal” by Susanne Craig, Jo Becker and Jesse Drucker for The New York Times.