Jared Kushner’s father met with Qatar’s finance minister to discuss a troubled real estate property at a time when his son was working on planning the newly inaugurated president’s first trip to the Middle East, the family company confirmed to the Washington Post on Sunday.
In April 2017, three months after Trump’s inauguration, Charles Kushner met with the finance minister in a hotel in New York City. Kushner said that though the meeting was to discuss one of the Kushner Companies’ projects in need of an investment, he only met with the Qataris as a courtesy and never intended to accept any funds from them. He wanted to avoid any possible conflicts of interest for his son, who has been heavily involved in shaping Middle East policy, he told the Post.
Earlier in March, the Intercept reported that the Kushner company had asked for the meeting with the Qatar finance minister “in an attempt to secure investment in a critically distressed asset.” Kushner told the Post that the Qataris had requested the meeting.
That “critically distressed asset” refers to 666 Fifth Avenue property in New York City, the company’s flagship property. That property is facing substantial debt that is due in 2019.
The Intercept reported in July that the elder Kushner had previously spoken to a major investor and former prime minister of Qatar about the property. That investor offered to invest $500 million, but that deal fell through because Qatar decided to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest after Kushner was named a senior advisor to Trump—or because separate funding from the Chinese insurance fund Anbang also fell through over ethics concerns.
Not long after Charles Kushner’s meeting with the Qatar finance minister, Trump and Jared Kushner supported Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in punishing Qatar with a diplomatic blockade over charges of supporting international terrorism.