Jared Kushner Backed Qatar Blockade a Month After Qataris Wouldn’t Finance His Property: Report

Updated | Jared Kushner's family-run real estate company tried to seek Qatari government financing for its troubled New York City property a month before Kushner backed a blockade on the Gulf kingdom, The Intercept reported on Friday. 

Related: Jared Kushner can broker peace between Israel and Palestinians because of real estate experience, Netanyahu says

Kushner Cos. directly solicited investment from Qatari Finance Minister Ali Sherif al-Emadi for its 666 Fifth Avenue luxury tower in April 2017, two sources in the finance industry told The Intercept. No deal came of it.

Kushner Cos. spokeswoman Chris Taylor denied such brokering attempts occurred. “To be clear, we did not meet with anyone from the Qatari government to solicit sovereign funds for any of our projects,” Taylor told Newsweek in an email. “To suggest otherwise is inaccurate and false.”

The following month, Kushner and the White House supported a blockade of Qatar organized by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Due to the crisis, alliances in the region have shifted, with Qatar—which holds the largest U.S. military base in the Middle East—aligning more closely with Iran and Turkey.

In June, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sought a “calm and thoughtful dialogue” to bring resolution to the clash between Qatar and its neighbors. But President Donald Trump echoed Saudi talking points and called Qatar a “funder of terror at a very high level,” The New York Times reported.

Kushner resigned as CEO of Kushner Cos. when he joined the White House and left his father, Charles Kushner, to run the business. It was Charles Kushner who met with al-Emadi, along with their aides, at a St. Regis New York hotel suite in April, according to The Intercept. The meeting ran for half an hour, and they discussed the potential investment. Conversations continued the next day at a conference room at 666 Fifth Avenue, but al-Emadi was not present, The Intercept said. 

The report concerning Qatar adds to controversy surrounding Kushner’s government work, business dealings and any conflicts between them.

Officials from the United Arab Emirates, China, Israel and Mexico have privately talked about how they could use Kushner’s lack of foreign policy experience and business interests as leverage, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

Russia probe special counsel Robert Mueller’s team asked witnesses about Kushner’s talks during the presidential transition with people from Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Russia and China, NBC News reported on Friday based on information from witnesses interviewed for the investigation.

Hours later, Qatar's ambassador to the U.S., Meshal Hamad Al Thani, denied such reports that Qatar has been in touch with Mueller’s office.

“We have not been approached nor have we had any contact with them on any matters. We have also had no contact with the US Government on any related investigations,” he tweeted. “Any reporting to the contrary is false.”

This story has been updated with the special counsel’s reported inquiries into Kushner’s talks with Qataris and a tweet from Qatar's ambassador to the U.S.