被特朗普加持了的美国投资移民项目

发表时间:2017-06-19内容来源:VOA英语学习网

BEIJING —?For Chinese citizens, American green cards can be notoriously difficult to obtain. But a Beijing immigration company called Qiaowai tells visa applicants of a secret weapon: It is working on behalf of a real estate firm owned by the family of President Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner.

北京——对中国公民来说,美国绿卡出了名地难拿。但北京一家名为侨外的移民公司向签证申请者们谈及了一样秘密武器:它正与特朗普的女婿兼顾问贾里德·库什纳(Jared Kushner) 所在家族旗下的一家房地产公司合作。

“They said the president would make sure it came through,” said Lu Ling, a technology executive in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou. “They said there was no chance it could fail.”

“他们说总统将确保一切顺利,”中国南方城市广州的科技企业高管陆令(音)说。“他们说绝不会出问题。”

As it builds two luxury apartment buildings in Jersey City, the Kushner family is trying to raise $150 million from Chinese investors through the so-called EB-5 program, which offers visas in exchange for a $500,000 investment. To get it done, the Kushners have turned to a pair of middlemen who have capitalized on a lucrative government program that critics say has little oversight and loose rules.

要在泽西城建造两栋豪华公寓楼的库什纳家族,试图借助以50万美元投资换签证的EB-5计划从中国投资者处募集1.5亿美元资金。为了实现其目标,库什纳家族转而求助于两家利用这一政府计划获得丰厚利润的中介公司。批评者称,该计划甚少受到监管,规则也很宽松。

The companies, Qiaowai and U.S. Immigration Fund, are the go-to matchmakers for big American developers.

侨外和美国移民基金(US Immigration Fund)这两家公司是美国大开发商极为中意的中介企业。

They have helped find Chinese investors for many developers’ giant projects, including numerous luxury high-rises in Manhattan, a sprawling complex of apartment buildings in Brooklyn and a golf course in Boca Raton, Fla. Last year, they brought Rudolph W. Giuliani, New York City’s onetime mayor, to Beijing to speak to potential investors.

它们帮忙给很多开发商的大项目找到了中国投资者,其中包括曼哈顿的众多豪华高层建筑,布鲁克林一个由多栋公寓楼组成的庞大建筑群,以及佛罗里达州博卡拉顿的一个高尔夫球场。去年,他们曾把纽约市前市长鲁道夫·W·朱利安尼(Rudolph W. Giuliani)请到北京,与潜在投资者进行交流。

Both firms have faced questions about their tactics.

两家公司所采用的策略都受到了质疑。

Qiaowai, with more than 400 employees at its headquarters on the 32nd floor of a high-rise, has trumpeted its political connections and played down the program’s financial risks. On the Kushner project, Qiaowai promised safe investments and “guaranteed” green cards, according to emails and text messages sent to clients and reviewed by The New York Times.

共有400多名雇员、总部位于一栋高层建筑第32层的侨外,一直在宣扬自己的政治人脉,淡化该计划的财务风险。《纽约时报》查看过的侨外发给客户的一些电子邮件和短信显示,在库什纳家族的项目上,侨外承诺投资是安全的,并且“保证”能拿到绿卡。

American regulators warn against such promises, though foreign firms like Qiaowai are outside the control of the immigration authorities in the United States, who oversee the program. Qiaowai declined to comment.

美国监管机构就这类承诺发出了警告,尽管侨外之类的外国公司并不受监管该计划的美国移民局控制。侨外拒绝置评。

U.S. Immigration Fund, based in Jupiter, Fla., has been accused by a former top executive of improperly using investor visa funds, and its chief executive has had legal troubles. The firm is a leading lobbying force in Washington, spending $820,000 since early 2015 to block changes to the EB-5 program’s rules.

总部位于佛罗里达州朱庇特的美国移民基金,一直被一名前高管指控不当使用寻求获得签证的投资者们的资金,其首席执行官还面临着法律上的麻烦。自2015年初以来,该公司在阻止EB-5计划改革方面花费了82万美元,是华盛顿的一股主要游说力量。

The efforts to raise money in China highlight the potential conflicts between Mr. Kushner’s White House role and Kushner Companies. Although he stepped down as chief executive in January, Mr. Kushner still stands to profit from the company’s business, since he is the primary beneficiary of trusts invested in most of its projects.

在中国募集资金的努力,突显了库什纳在白宫的角色和库什纳集团(Kushner Companies)之间的潜在冲突。库什纳于今年1月辞去了首席执行官的职务,但他依然可以从该公司的业务中获利,因为他是投资于该公司大多数项目的一系列信托机构的主要受益者。

“No one at Kushner Companies was aware of any statement or guarantee,” Risa Heller, a company spokeswoman, said in response to questions about Qiaowai. “They did not and would not authorize that kind of language.” She declined to answer any questions about U.S. Immigration Fund.

“库什纳集团没有谁对任何此类陈述或保证知情,”公司女发言人里莎·海勒(Risa Heller)如此回应关于侨外的问题。“他们没有也不会授权使用那种措辞。”她拒绝回答关于美国移民基金的问题。

Both immigration firms this week removed from their websites descriptions of Kushner projects. “These are reports for investors and they are still up on the company’s password-protected investor portal,” said Stu Loeser, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration Fund.

本周,这两家移民公司都删掉了其网站上关于库什纳家族的项目的描述。“这些是面向投资者的报告,在公司有密码保护的投资者门户网站上依然可以查阅,”美国移民基金的发言人斯图·勒泽(Stu Loeser)说。

The Kushners’ tactics for raising money in China is spurring renewed calls for an overhaul of the visa program. The program began in 1990 as a way to revitalize poor neighborhoods, but has turned into a source of cheap financing for luxury developers. It has garnered a reputation for fraud and abuse. Last month, federal agents executed search warrants in connection with an investigation into an alleged scheme to defraud EB-5 investors from China.

库什纳家族在中国的募资策略,让重新修订这一签证计划的呼声再次高涨。该计划于1990年作为一种振兴贫穷社区的方法启动,但对豪宅开发商来说,已经变成一条成本低廉的融资渠道。它因欺诈案件和滥用现象而背上了污名。联邦探员上月执行的若干搜查令,牵涉到对一个被指欺诈中国EB-5投资者的阴谋的调查。

About 75 percent of the 10,000 visas awarded each year go to Chinese investors, who are primarily driven by the desire to get a visa, rather than profits. After fees to middlemen, they generally don’t make money.

每年发出去的1万张EB-5签证,约有75%到了中国投资者手中,他们大多以拿到签证而非获利为目标。刨去交给中介公司的费用,他们通常赚不到钱。

Mr. Kushner’s sister, Nicole Meyer, was criticized after mentioning her brother’s White House connections when she visited China this month to promote the New Jersey development. Ms. Meyer later apologized, saying it was not her intention to use her brother’s ties to the Trump administration to lure investors.

库什纳的妹妹尼科尔·迈耶(Nicole Meyer)于本月到访中国,推广新泽西的开发项目时,提及了她哥哥的白宫背景,旋即遭到批评。迈耶随后道了歉,说她无意利用哥哥与特朗普政府的关系招揽投资者。

But the family’s Chinese representatives have repeatedly invoked Mr. Trump’s name as a selling point.

但库什纳家族的代表一直把特朗普的名字作为卖点反复提及。

Qiaowai, which has worked with the Kushners since 2013, describes itself in ads as the company Mr. Trump uses to “dig for gold.” Its leader, a former banker named Ding Ying, has tried to project an image of proximity to the president, chronicling on the company’s website her visit to Washington in January to attend his inauguration. She said she “exchanged a few words” with Mr. Trump.

从2013年开始与库什纳家族合作的侨外,在一则广告里将自己描述成特朗普用以“掘金”的公司。侨外负责人、前银行从业者丁颖,竭力让外界觉得其与特朗普颇为亲近,在公司网站上详加记录了她于1月份到访华盛顿,参加总统就职典礼的经过。她说她和特朗普“聊了几句”。

Connecting Qiaowai with the Kushner family is Nicholas A. Mastroianni II, the chief executive of U.S. Immigration Fund. A prodigious fund-raiser, he claims to have collected more than $1.7 billion in EB-5 money since 2010.

把侨外和特朗普家族联结起来的是美国移民基金的首席执行官尼古拉斯·马斯楚安尼二世(Nicholas A. Mastroianni II)。作为一名能量极大的募资人,他声称自2010年以来通过EB-5计划募得了逾17亿美元资金。

He travels frequently to China, reassuring Chinese investors worried about moving abroad, including helping their children adjust and throwing dinners. He also regularly goes to New York City, via private jet, where he has helped finance megaprojects for some of the city’s biggest real estate developers.

他常常到访中国,安抚对移民事宜感到担心的中国投资者,包括帮助他们的子女做调整以及举办晚宴。他还会定期乘坐私人飞机前往纽约,帮助城中一些最大的房地产开发商给超级工程融资。

The Kushner family has turned to Mr. Mastroianni at least twice to finance its ambitions. In 2013, it raised $50 million from 100 investors for a Trump-branded luxury high-rise apartment building in Jersey City, which opened last year. This spring, it announced it would seek the $150 million in EB-5 money for the latest Jersey City project, known as One Journal Square.

为了融得用以实现其雄心的资金,库什纳家族至少曾两次向马斯楚安尼寻求帮助。2013年,库什纳家族从100名投资人那里为泽西城一栋以特朗普为品牌的豪华高层公寓楼募集了5000万美元。那栋公寓楼已于去年揭幕。今年春天,库什纳家族宣布将通过EB-5项目为泽西城的最新项目“One Journal Square”融资1.5亿美元。

In 2014, Fortune magazine found Mr. Mastroianni had faced legal troubles with creditors, partners and the federal Labor Department. In one case, a federal bankruptcy court trustee said he “knowingly and fraudulently” failed to hold onto records of his assets.

2014年,《财富》(Fortune)杂志发现,马斯楚安尼曾卷入与债权人、合作伙伴以及美国劳工部的法律纠纷。在一桩案件中,联邦破产法庭的受托人称,他“故意且欺诈性地”没去保留自己的一些资产记录。

Several former business partners have filed lawsuits against him, court records show. In a dispute over a stake in the company, David Finkelstein, his former chief financial officer, accused Mr. Mastroianni in a 2015 countersuit of misspending EB-5 funds in a series of projects, including several that involved Qiaowai. He claimed Mr. Mastroianni “funneled money in and out of various accounts” in ways that failed to comply with EB-5 requirements.

法庭记录显示,几名前生意伙伴起诉了他。因公司股权问题而产生纠纷后,马斯楚安尼的首席财务官大卫·芬克尔斯坦(David Finkelstein)在2015年反诉他在一系列项目中滥用EB-5资金,其中包括牵涉到侨外的几个项目。他说马斯楚安尼以不符合EB-5相关规定的方式,“将资金转入和转出多个账户”。

The litigation was settled, and both sides declined to comment.

该案以和解告终,双方均拒绝置评。

In China, Mr. Mastroianni found a ready partner in Ms. Ding of Qiaowai, who built an empire on sending Chinese families abroad.

在中国,芬克尔斯坦找到了一个现成的合作伙伴——通过帮助中国家庭出国建立起自己的商业王国的丁颖。

Qiaowai, founded in 1999, has flourished as the ranks of wealthy Chinese have surged. Such firms often charge more than $50,000 as a finder’s fee, commissions that can add up to tens of millions of dollars on large development projects.

创办于1999年的侨外,随着中国富人群体的崛起而兴旺发达。这类公司常常会收取超过5万美元的中介费,在一些大开发项目上的佣金加起来可能以千万美元计。

Ms. Ding had a motto — “only genuine and safe investments” — and a vision of becoming a one-stop destination for wealthy families, helping them find schools, pay taxes and obtain insurance. When speaking at a fund-raising event in early May at the Ritz-Carlton in Beijing, with Mr. Kushner’s sister in attendance, Qiaowai representatives said that citizenship and getting money back were “highly guaranteed.”

丁颖有一句座右铭——“只做真正安全的投资移民”——其愿景是让侨外为富有家庭提供一站式服务,为他们找学校、交税、获取保险保障。在库什纳的妹妹于5月初出席的那场募资活动上,来自侨外的代表发了言,说取得公民身份和收回投资是“高保”事项。

Ms. Ding’s close relationship with Mr. Mastroianni ensured an advantage in the Chinese market. Mr. Mastroianni routinely brought celebrities, including the golfer Jack Nicklaus, and former American government officials to China, helping burnish the credibility of Qiaowai.

丁颖和马斯楚安尼之间的密切关系,确保了在中国市场上的优势。马斯楚安尼会定期带着包括高尔夫球员泰格·伍兹(Tiger Woods)在内的名人以及前美国政府官员来中国,帮助增进侨外的信誉。

One such guest, Mr. Giuliani, promoted another developer’s Times Square project to potential investors at an event in Beijing last year. In a news release at the time, Qiaowai referred to itself and its Florida partner as the “two most powerful giants in the Sino-U.S. immigration industry.”

作为这样一名嘉宾,朱利安尼去年曾在北京的一场活动上向潜在投资者推介另一个开发商的“时报广场”项目。侨外在当时的一份新闻稿中,把自己和位于佛罗里达的合作伙伴称为“中美移民行业两个最有影响力的巨头”。

Mr. Giuliani factored prominently in Qiaowai’s advertising; the company described him to Chinese audiences as America’s likely next secretary of state. His law firm, Greenberg Traurig, is the main lobbyist for a trade group fighting changes to the rules of the EB-5 program.

朱利安尼在侨外的广告宣传中被赋予了浓墨重彩的一笔;该公司告诉中国受众,他有可能成为下一任美国国务卿。他的律所格林伯格特劳里格(Greenberg Traurig),是一个反对改变EB-5计划规则的贸易团体的主要说客。

Mr. Giuliani and his firm did not respond to requests for comment.

朱利安尼及其律所未回应置评请求。

Prominent former politicians are a staple for U.S. Immigration Fund and other EB-5 promoters. Former Gov. George E. Pataki of New York spoke alongside Mr. Mastroianni at an industry panel in Shanghai, and the former New York State economic development official Charles A. Gargano is the firm’s executive director.

声名赫赫的前政客堪称美国移民基金以及其他EB-5推广机构的顶梁柱。在上海的一场行业小组讨论会上,前纽约州州长乔治·E·帕塔基(George E.?Pataki)曾站在马斯楚安尼身边发言;曾在纽约州政府负责经济发展事务的查尔斯·A·加尔加诺(Charles A. Gargano),目前是该公司的执行董事。

Mr. Mastroianni’s firm was at the forefront of efforts to stop an overhaul of the EB-5 program in 2015 and 2016, lobbying records show. The firm hired former Representative Ron Klein of Florida, now a lobbyist at Holland & Knight, to make its case on Capitol Hill and court investors in China. Mr. Mastroianni’s company also used another lobbyist, former Senator Alfonse M. D’Amato of New York.

游说记录显示,在2015和2016年的阻止重新修订EB-5计划的行动中,马斯楚安尼的公司走在前列。该律所雇用了佛罗里达州前众议员罗恩·克莱因(Ron Klein)——目前是霍兰&奈特律师事务所(Holland & Knight)的一名说客——在国会山为它说话,并在中国帮助招揽投资者。马斯楚安尼的律所还用过另一名说客——前纽约参议员阿方斯·M·达马托(Alfonse M. D’Amato)。

“We generally support the reforms relating to oversight, integrity and governance,” said Mark Giresi, the chief operating officer for U.S. Immigration Fund. “We oppose efforts to treat urban markets differently than rural markets.”

“我们一般会支持与监管、诚信和治理有关的改革,”美国移民基金首席运营官马克·吉雷西(Mark Giresi)说。“但我们反对区别对待城市市场和乡村市场的做法。”

For Kushner partners, the election of Mr. Trump represented an opportunity.

对库什纳家族的合作伙伴来说,特朗普的当选代表着一个机会。

Mr. Mastroianni’s son, Nicholas Mastroianni III, president of U.S. Immigration Fund, donated $100,000 to Mr. Trump’s inauguration.

马斯楚安尼之子、美国移民基金总裁尼古拉斯·马斯楚安尼三世(Nicholas Mastroianni III),为特朗普的就职典礼捐赠了10万美元。

Qiaowai unrolled a series of advertisements featuring Mr. Trump. “For a company that has cooperated with the Trump family,” said one ad, “there is no need to defend itself against rumors about fraud and questions like, ‘Is Qiaowai reliable?’”

侨外推出的一系列广告都主打特朗普这张牌。一则广告称,“那么‘侨外移民值得相信吗?侨外移民欺诈?侨外美国移民项目失败?’这类问题,对一个曾经与川普家族合作过的机构来说,还需要再回应更多吗?”

来自:VOA英语网 文章地址: http://www.tingvoa.com/html/20170619/467272.html