Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner has been desperately seeking for someone to bail his family out from a poor real estate investment which threatens to wipe out their fortune. Their rescue, according to the New York Times, is coming in the shape of deal with none other than a company linked to Qatar.
The company controlled by White House adviser Kushner is said to be close to receiving a bailout by a company with financial ties to the government of Qatar, according to executives briefed on the deal. The paper's report revealed that Charles Kushner, Jared's father and head of Kushner Companies, is in advanced talks with Brookfield Asset Management over a partnership to take control of the 41-story tower in Midtown Manhattan.
The father and son team believed that they had bought a real estate trophy but since purchasing the building 11 years ago for a record-setting $1.8 billion, they have struggled to regenerate enough rent to cover the enormous mortgage on their investment. The building today is said to only generate about half its annual mortgage payment, and 30 per cent of the 41-story tower is vacant.
Desperate to plug the hole which threatened to send them towards possible bankruptcy, the Kushner family went searching the globe for a partner for the building, including meeting as recently as last year with a billionaire from Qatar, Hamad Bin Jassim Al Thani, the country's former prime minister.
Kushner junior's attempt to obtain a $500 million loan from Bin Jassim Al Thani was widely reported in the media. But his efforts to entice the Qatari billionaire back in 2015 fell through, putting the Kushner family in an extremely vulnerable position. While the collapse of the deal was initially seen as a normal real estate deal going sour, it raised speculations when Trump came to power a year later and endorsed a Saudi-led blockade on Qatar.
According to a source quoted in the American Conservative, the US president's unusually hard-line against Qatar, an ally, was fuelled primarily by Kushner, apparently at the behest of a personal friend, Yousef Al-Otaiba, the UAE's ambassador to the US.
The company at the centre of the deal is Brookfield Property Partners. Qatar Investment Authority bought a $1.8 billion stake in the company making it the second-largest investor in Brookfield. Together, the Qatar fund and Brookfield have teamed up on several real estate deals in the United States and elsewhere in recent years.
If the deal does indeed go through, it is bound to fuel further speculation over the blockade on Qatar and whether there were any political sweeteners this time around to make the deal happen. Initially Trump sided with Saudi and the UAE against Qatar in what seemed like a contrived Saudi-led attempt to crush Doha. Trump's cheerleading for the Saudi's abated and more recently he has demanded that the Gulf countries lift their blockade and resolve their quarrel with their neighbour; conveniently many may say, when his son-in-law's firm is about to get a bail out from the Qataris.