Mueller Probing Kushner’s Attempt To Secure Loans From Foreign Lenders

Screengrab/Washington Post/YouTube

Jared Kushner reportedly tried to secure financing from foreign investors during the presidential transition.

According to CNN, special counsel Robert Mueller's interest has been piqued with regard to Jared Kushner's attempts to secure financing from foreign investors during the presidential transition period, broadening a previous focus on Kushner's contact with Russians.

US officials briefed on the probe had told CNN in May that points of focus related to Kushner, the White House senior adviser and son-in-law of President Donald Trump, included the Trump campaign's 2016 data analytics operation, his relationship with former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and Kushner's own contacts with Russians.

Mueller's investigators have been asking questions, including during interviews in January and February, about Kushner's conversations during the transition to shore up financing for 666 Fifth Avenue, a Kushner Companies-backed New York City office building reeling from financial troubles, according to people familiar with the special counsel investigation.

Though it is unclear what sparked Mueller's interest in Kushner's financial dealings, CNN reports the special counsel's questioning involves interactions Kushner had with both Chinese and Qatari investors during the transition.

A week after Trump's election, Kushner met with the chairman and other executives of Anbang Insurance, the Chinese conglomerate that also owns the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York, according to The New York Times.

At the time, Kushner and Anbang's chairman, Wu Xiaohui, were close to finishing a deal for the Chinese insurer to invest in the flagship Kushner Companies property, 666 Fifth Avenue. Talks between the two companies collapsed in March, according to the Times.

Likewise, talks with former Qatari prime minister Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani regarding the same property came to a halt.

Kushner had bought the property in 2007 in a mostly debt deal valued at a record $1.8 billion. The building came under financial pressure during the housing crisis, and in 2011 Vornado Realty Trust stepped in with financing, taking on a 49.5% stake in the building. The office tower shoulders more than $1.4 billion in debt, according to a report Vornado released in March.

Vornado last week disclosed its intention to sell its stake in a regulatory filing, saying, "We do not intend to hold this asset on a long-term basis."

A meeting Kushner took with Sergey Gorkov, chairman of Russian state-run Vnesheconombank, also remains under investigation by Mueller's team.