Two leading U.S. news outlets reported on Wednesday on business ties totaling tens of millions of dollars between the family of Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, and the Steinmetz family, one of the richest families in Israel which made most of its fortune in the diamond industry in recent decades.
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According to reports published in Bloomberg and in the New York Times, the ties between the two families include high-stake real estate deals in Manhattan worth more than $150 million. Bloomberg says at least 15 different buildings in downtown Manhattan are co-owned by Raz Steinmetz, nephew of diamond dealer Beny Steinmetz, and by Kushner family's Kushner Companies. The two also invested together in a project bearing President Trump's name in New Jersey, according to the report.
Steinmetz and Kushner worked on some of these joint ventures through a company called Gaia, which according to Bloomberg was listed on the Kushner Companies' website as an investor in the past. A spokesperson for the Kushners said that indeed, the two sides have been longstanding business partners.
In the report published by the New York Times, a few hours after the report in Bloomberg appeared, a spokesperson for the Kushners made sure to note that Raz Steinmetz, who is 53 years old, is "the only Steinmetz" the family is doing business with. This was important to note, since Raz Steinmetz's uncle, Beny Steinmetz, is currently under police investigation for allegedly bribing officials in Guinea in order to advance his mining business. He was detained and investigated by the Israeli police half a year ago.
Beny Steinmetz's investigation has also spread into the United States, where it is overseen by the Justice Department. The New York Times notes that this could create complications for Kushner, especially since one of his roles in the administration, according to past statements by the president, is brokering Middle East peace. A White House spokeswoman said that "Mr. Kushner continues to work with the Office of the White House Counsel and personal counsel to ensure he recuses from any particular matter involving specific parties in which he has a business relationship with a party to the matter."
The New York Times report mentioned that Beny Steinmetz's attorney in the United States is Alan Dershowitz, who said that his client had no business ties to the Kushners. Last month, Haaretz reported that Dershowitz was asked by Trump to convey a message to Prime Minister Netanyahu on the importance and possibility of reaching a peace deal with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas