What makes the sizable loans discovered particularly interesting is that Kushner met with Apollo's founder, Joshua Harris, and Citigroup's CEO, Michael L. Corbat, at the White House on numerous occasions prior to the disbursement of monies.
[I]n November, Apollo lent $184 million to Mr. Kushner’s family real estate firm, Kushner Companies. The loan was to refinance the mortgage on a Chicago skyscraper.
Even by the standards of Apollo, one of the world’s largest private equity firms, the previously unreported transaction with the Kushners was a big deal: It was triple the size of the average property loan made by Apollo’s real estate lending arm, securities filings show.
An even larger loan came from Citigroup, which lent the firm and one of its partners $325 million to help finance a group of office buildings in Brooklyn.
Kushner Companies spokeswoman Christine Taylor insisted that no connection existed between Kushner's White House meetings and the eventual loans, but government ethics experts say such activities within the executive branch are frowned upon and virtually unprecedented:
“This is exactly why senior government officials, for as long back as I have any experience, don’t maintain any active outside business interests,” said Don Fox, the former acting director of the Office of Government Ethics during the Obama administration and, before that, a lawyer for the Air Force and Navy during Republican and Democratic administrations. “The appearance of conflicts of interest is simply too great.”
Both Apollo and Citigroup indicated that the Kushner Companies loans went through standard procedures and were not influenced by Kushner's position within the Trump administration.
For now, Americans simply have to take the relevant parties at their word that nothing improper has transpired -- something increasingly difficult to manage as the appearance of conflicts piles up.
It is also worth noting that Apollo benefited nicely from the recently passed tax cuts as well:
Shortly after Kushner Companies received the loan from Apollo, the private equity firm emerged as a beneficiary of the tax cut package that the White House championed. Mr. Trump backed down from his earlier pledge to close a loophole that permits private equity managers to pay taxes on the bulk of their income at rates that are roughly half of ordinary income tax rates. The tax law left the loophole largely intact.