Thursday , February 15, 2018 - 6:16 AM
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U.S. tax authorities have requested documents from lenders and investors in real estate projects managed by Jared Kushner’s family, according to a person familiar with the matter.
They have gathered information from people who lent money and assembled investors for some Kushner Cos. real estate projects in New York and New Jersey, the person said. Those projects involve deals dating back to 2010.
The Internal Revenue Service and the Justice Department issued the subpoenas within the past year, according to the person. The tax inquiry appears unrelated to other investigations that have since burst into public view. It began before Special Counsel Robert Mueller was appointed in May to investigate Russian election meddling. In a separate action around that time, U.S. prosecutors in Brooklyn sought information from Kushner Cos. about its use of a foreign visa program.
In the tax investigation, it’s unclear whether authorities are looking at Kushner business associates or the company itself.
A lawyer representing the company, Charles J. Harder, said in a written statement: “Kushner Cos. is not under investigation for any tax issues. It has had no contact with anyone at the IRS or Justice Department Tax Division. It has received no subpoenas or audit requests about its taxes. It is not in tax court on any audits. If there is an investigation about others’ taxes, it has nothing to do with Kushner Cos. or its businesses.”
Spokesmen for the Justice Department and the IRS declined to comment.
Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, stepped down from the family business when he joined the administration a year ago and divested some assets by transferring them to relatives.
The Securities and Exchange Commission and U.S. prosecutors in Brooklyn issued subpoenas to Kushner Cos. last May, seeking details on its use of the EB-5 program for foreign investors, according to two people, who asked not to be named because the requests weren’t public.
The EB-5 program offers foreigners green cards and permanent residence in exchange for investing $500,000 in certain U.S. businesses that create at least 10 jobs per investor. Kushner Cos. used the program to build a Trump-branded apartment building in Jersey City and sought to draw on it for another project there.
The Brooklyn prosecutors have also requested documents from Deutsche Bank AG related to a retail property that the Kushners bought in 2015 for $296 million. Within a year, that property, formerly the New York Times headquarters, was appraised at $445 million, and the Kushners took out $370 million in loans, including $285 million from Deutsche Bank. The bank sold most of the debt to Wall Street investors. The focus of that inquiry isn’t clear.
Kushner Cos. has said it’s cooperating with inquiries.
While the U.S. special counsel works in secret and has a broad mandate, he hasn’t brought any tax charges. As part of his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, Mueller has charged four Trump associates, including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
Manafort is accused of money laundering and hiding his political consulting work for Ukrainian political leaders. The indictment also alleges that he didn’t report income on his tax returns, but it doesn’t charge him with evasion or filing false returns. He denies wrongdoing.
Kushner Cos. was embroiled in a criminal tax case more than a decade ago. Jared Kushner’s father, Charles, pleaded guilty in 2004 to lying about political donations, cheating on his taxes and witness intimidation after arranging a videotape of a brother-in-law having sex with a prostitute.
Four years later, another top company executive was convicted of conspiracy and aiding the filing of false partnership tax returns. Prosecutors accused him of creating false returns by illegally claiming $6 million in deductions for charitable and political contributions, capital expenditures and gift and entertainment expenses. In all, seven people were convicted of tax charges in the scheme. Kushner Cos. wasn’t accused of wrongdoing.
Bloomberg’s Caleb Melby and David Kocieniewski contributed.
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