U.S. President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner, struck a hidden deal with Israeli firm Menora Mivtachim in which his real estate company received US$30 million, a new report by The New York Times revealed.
Kushner, who backed Trump's decision to declare Jerusalem as Israel's capital, received the money just before his first trip to Israel with Trump in 2017.
"Kushner's family has taken out at least four loans from Israel's largest bank, Bank Hapoalim, which is subject to the Justice Department investigations over allegations that it helped wealthy Americans evade taxes," The New York Times reported.
Calling Kushner "the worst and most oppressive kind of slum lord," Intercept journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted, "Are you comfortable with having Jared Kushner be the beneficiary of huge amounts of Israeli financing at the same time he's overseeing U.S. foreign policy on Israel?"
"The deal, which was not made public, pumped significant new equity into 10 Maryland apartment complexes controlled by Mr. Kushner's firm," The New York Times noted. "While Mr. Kushner has sold parts of his business since taking a White House job last year, he still has stakes in most of the family empire — including the apartment buildings in and around Baltimore."
In December 2017, a Newsweek investigation revealed that Kushner failed to mention his financial dealings to the Office of Government Ethics during his March filings and that he was the co-director of the Charles and Seryl Kushner Foundation from 2006 and 2015. This group was responsible for funding settlements that were deemed as illegal per international law.
“The first son-in-law has repeatedly amended his financial records since his initial filing in March, along with three separate revisions to his security clearance application. Despite correcting his financial history on multiple occasions, he has yet to include his role as co-director to the family foundation,” Newsweek reported.
Christine Taylor, a spokeswoman for Kushner Companies, told The New York Times that Kushner's company has partners all over the world, but it "does no business with foreign sovereigns or governments, and is not precluded from doing business with any foreign company simply because Jared is working in the government."
Robert Weissman, the president of Public Citizen, a nonprofit government ethics group, pointed out the loopholes in laws that help the likes of Kushner get away with such actions.
"The ethics laws were not crafted by people who had the foresight to imagine a Donald Trump or a Jared Kushner," Weissman told The New York Times.
"No one could ever imagine this scale of ongoing business interests, not in a local peanut farm or a hardware store but sprawling global businesses that give the president and his top adviser personal economic stakes in an astounding number of policy interests."