Home News Serbia approves contract with Jared Kushner to build hotel complex

Serbia approves contract with Jared Kushner to build hotel complex


The Serbian government has approve contract Jared Kushner plans to build a luxury hotel on the site of a former Department of Defense building in Belgrade, giving him direct access as his father-in-law, Donald J. Trump, races to return to the White House. Doing business with European countries.

Mr. Kushner is Advance $500 million hotel project With Richard Grenell.Mr. Grenell, a former Trump administration aide proposed for the first time Mr. Grenell was a diplomat serving as envoy to the Balkans as U.S. investors sought to redevelop the long-vacant, bombed-out Defense Ministry site in the former Yugoslavia.

The deal, which sparked protests in Belgrade on Thursday, was struck with an affiliate of Mr. Kushner’s Affinity Partners, a 3-year-old company that US$3 billion investment fund Backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.

“The Serbian government has selected a reputable U.S. company as a partner in a joint venture that will invest in the revitalization of the former Federal Defense Secretariat complex,” Serbian government officials said in a statement released on Wednesday.

In 1999, during Serbia’s war with Kosovo, the complex was bombed by NATO forces with U.S. support.It is now considered a prime untapped real estate site in the heart of a vastly changed city, and so is Trump himself Consider building a hotel 2013 about it.

For Kushner, who also plans two luxury hotel projects in neighboring Albania, the Balkan deals are among the biggest he has struck since starting his investment firm.

“Serbia’s economic progress over the past decade has been impressive,” Kushner said in a statement confirming the deal’s approval. “This development will further elevate Belgrade as a premier international destination.

The projects in Serbia and Albania both involve direct concessions from local governments, meaning Mr. Kushner could benefit financially from the actions of foreign governments while his father-in-law is in the White House, although those overseas officials may seek to take action by Action: Support from the United States and others Serbia’s bid Join the European Union.

Investments Mr. Kushner is making with business partners Israel, Dubai, Brazil, Germany and USAAmong other locations, ethics lawyers say the agency is backed by a fund that receives much of its money from the Saudi government, again raising questions about possible conflicts of interest as Trump returns to office.

“This is a conflict of interest in the clearest sense: The president of the United States needs to promote the interests of the United States, not the financial interests of family members,” said Adav Noti, executive director of the Campaign Legal Center, which tracks ethics issues in the federal government.

According to statistics, a total of 99% of the funds deposited by investors into Kushner Companies come from abroad. a filing Meeting with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission at the end of March. Kushner said his overseas investments did not constitute a conflict of interest because he has said he does not plan to return to the White House if Trump is reelected.

Mr. Kushner and his partners plan to build a hotel, retail stores and more than 1,500 residential units. The approved plans include building a museum and memorial to those injured or killed in the NATO bombings. Kushner’s company said in a statement that the memorial will be owned and managed by the government and designed “in collaboration with Serbian architects.”

Mr Kushner is working with Asher Abehsera, a long-time real estate partner on the Serbian project, who will oversee actual development. “Redevelopment means more than just building buildings, it means building bridges between cultures, respecting the past and laying the foundations for a prosperous future,” Abeseira said in a statement.

Mr. Grenell said in a previous interview that his original proposal while serving in the Trump administration and his current involvement in the project reflected his belief that the United States should help rebuild the role it played in the bombing of 25 . a year ago. He said reconstruction could be part of the “healing” of relations between the two countries.

The Serbian government said in its own statement that it would retain ownership of the site and investment group Affinity Global Development had a deadline to complete the project or the land would return to government control.

But the approval of the contract – which includes a 99-year lease and an agreement to share profits from the development of the three blocks with the Serbian government – has drawn criticism from the leader of the opposition in Serbia’s parliament, among others.

Protesters blocked traffic in front of the former Defense Department headquarters on Thursday and posted signs questioning the decision, some of which read: “Stop gifting Army headquarters to U.S. offshore companies.”

Some in Serbia oppose the plan because of the U.S. role in the bombings 25 years ago.

“There are people trying to clean up the mess they made, but they shouldn’t be doing anything in this place,” said Dragan Jonic, a member of parliament who attended Thursday’s protest. “We will use all legal means and civil disobedience to stop this.”

The project has also drawn attention from House Democrats, who have asked Republicans on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee to investigate the proposed deal, although Republicans have yet to take action.

“Jared Kushner is pursuing new foreign business deals just as Donald Trump emerges as the Republican presidential nominee,” said Reps. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., and Robert Garry, D-Calif. Sia said, Written in Marchfollowing the New York Times Details disclosed planned projects.

Kushner said in the interview that as a private citizen, he has the right to pursue international real estate and business deals, even if they involve foreign governments.

But Mr. Kushner played a role behind the scenes, Non-profit organizations The group, set up by Trump supporters, is already looking into a possible return of Trump to the White House.

“I think one of the reasons that investors like us take companies like us is they know that if Affinity comes on board, we’re a legitimate icon,” Kushner said in a March interview. “Because we are a highly scrutinized company. We operate very professionally.”

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