Ivanka Trump and husband made $109m in outside income

The trusts and investment vehicles of Mr Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump took part in nearly 80 transactions.
The trusts and investment vehicles of Mr Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump took part in nearly 80 transactions.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

WASHINGTON • Even after they ascended to top White House positions, US President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner continued to benefit from an extraordinary number of investment deals carried out by the companies they once ran, ethics filings show.

Together, Ms Trump and Mr Kushner earned at least US$82 million (S$109.5 million) in outside income while working as unpaid senior advisers to her father.

Ethics experts have warned that the extraordinary income flow could raise questions of possible conflicts of interest.

"We don't have insight into who is buying and selling stuff, so we don't know if it's market value," said Ms Virginia Canter, the executive branch ethics counsel at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, and a White House associate counsel in the Barack Obama and Bill Clinton administrations.

"Who is financing these transactions?" Ms Canter asked. "Is it some unknown LLC (limited liability company)? How do we know it isn't a sovereign wealth fund from Saudi Arabia or some other place?"

The couple's new ethics disclosures on Monday show that their trusts and other investment vehicles took part in nearly 80 transactions during the year, buying or selling swathes of development property in New Jersey, commercial real estate in Manhattan, condominiums in Brooklyn, stakes in mutual funds and at least one hedge fund.

The couple's real estate holdings and other investments were worth as much as US$834 million, up from US$761 million in 2016. Their total income from the various investments was between US$82 million and US$222 million, compared with a range of US$89 million to US$201 million in 2016.

The value of the assets owned by Mr Kushner and Ms Trump does not count the debt accumulated to purchase the properties.

While both Mr Kushner and Ms Trump were required to file financial forms last year, it is difficult to compare their past with present wealth because there are several months of overlap in the reporting period and the Office of Government Ethics uses broad ranges to calculate assets and liabilities.

In a statement, Mr Peter Mirijanian - a spokesman for Mr Abbe Lowell, Mr Kushner and Ms Trump's ethics counsel - said the couple have followed all ethics rules and that Monday's disclosures are an insufficient way to understand the nuances of their net worth. "Since joining the administration, Mr Kushner and Ms Trump have complied with the rules and restrictions as set out by the Office of Government Ethics," Mr Mirijanian said.

Ms Trump reported US$3.9 million from her stake in the Trump International Hotel in Washington as well as more than US$2 million in severance pay from the Trump Organisation.

Her financial disclosures show she earned more than US$5 million from the entity that controls her brand. She also earned US$289,300 as an advance for her book Women Who Work. She donated the money to the Ivanka M. Trump Charitable Fund, a "donor-advised fund" dedicated to organisations that focus on women and girls, according to the filing.

Her husband earned more than US$5 million in income from the Kushner Cos apartment complex Quail Ridge in New Jersey. He divested some of his Kushner Cos assets by selling them to a trust controlled by his mother.

He declared income from dozens of companies linked to his family's real estate company. In all, he took in at least US$70 million.

The filing also disclosed a few interests that Mr Kushner had divested but inadvertently failed to report previously, including Vegas Seven, a Las Vegas website, as well as a stake in Brooklyn Beer.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 13, 2018, with the headline 'Ivanka and husband made $109m in outside income'. Print Edition | Subscribe