Jared Kushner could find himself in the spotlight of the Robert Mueller investigation into the Donald Trump scandal over Russia’s influence in the 2016 presidential election, after a report last week showing a possible link between Kushner and a massive but still-mysterious deal involving Rosneft — Russia’s largest oil company — and the middle eastern country of Qatar. According to an investigation by the news site The Intercept, Kushner received a massive and badly needed $184 million loan from Qatar after he backed a United States blockade against the country.
But Qatar was also a buyer in the Rosneft deal, in which the state-owned Russian oil mega-firm sold off 19.5 percent of its shares to a company owned in part by the government of Qatar, a country that has been an ally in the United States war against Middle East terrorists, and where a crucial U.S. military base has been located since 2003. But despite Qatar’s status as a U.S. asset against terrorism, last year the Trump administration backed a Saudi Arabian blockade of the country — a move that was encouraged and supported by Kushner.
Just weeks before the blockade, Kushner’s family sought substantial financial backing from the Qatari government for the Kushner company’s financially strapped building at 666 5th Avenue in Manhattan, New York City, according to the reports. But the Qataris rejected the Kushner proposal.
After the blockade, a Qatari-linked company, Apollo Group, granted the Kushners’ business the $184 million loan. But according to an analysis by Fordham University law professor Jed Handelsman Shugerman published last week by the online magazine Slate, and which can be read in its entirety at this link, the funds for Kushner’s loan may be linked to the Rosneft deal — a deal that forms a key part of the dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele that outlines deep ties between Trump and Russia.
The Steele Dossier may be read online at this link.
The dossier alleges that Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page brokered the deal with Rosneft, meeting with the company’s CEO Igor Sechin during a trip to Moscow in 2016 when Page was still a member of the campaign. The deal, according the allegations in the dossier, was tied to an agreement that funds from the sale would be secretly transferred to Trump in exchange for a pledge to ease economic sanctions on Russia. Read the Inquisitr coverage of the Rosneft deal at this link.
“So: A Qatari fund acquires major assets from Russia. Kushner’s business seeks money directly from Qatar. The nation, though, does not deliver to Kushner,” Shugerman wrote in his Slate article. “The U.S. changes its political posture against Qatar at Kushner’s urging, with the alarming possibility that the seemingly manufactured conflict could have escalated into war. (Fortunately, it did not.) Several months later, the Qatar-backed Apollo Group delivers $184 million to Kushner.”
The timing of the Rosneft deal was also curious, Shugerman wrote, coming shortly after Kushner attempted to set up a so-called “back channel” line of secret communication with the Russian government that would be shielded from eavesdropping by U.S. intelligence.
And a short time after the Rosneft deal went through in December of 2016, Kushner held a clandestine meeting in Trump Tower with Sergey Gorkov, chair of Russia’s state-owned Vnesheconombank, also known as VE Bank — a bank that is sometimes referred to as a private “slush fund” for Russian President Vladimir Putin, to whom Gorkov is a close confidant. VE Bank is under U.S. sanctions and would be one of the Russian institutions and individuals who would benefit from an easing of those sanctions.
Rosneft boss Igor Sechin, another close Putin associate, is also under U.S. sanctions. Page denies the allegations in the Steele Dossier that he met with Sechin and brokered the massive Rosneft deal, but under questioning by the House Intelligence Committee, Page admitted that he met with another top Rosneft official, Andrey Baranov.
“The bottom line is that all this new Kushner news connects more dots in the Steele dossier’s core allegation: that there may have been a quid-pro-quo of Russian oil money for Trump policy change on sanctions,” Shugerman wrote. “In light of the Steele dossier and how Qatar might implicate Russia, Kushner and Trump have even more to answer for.”