Jared Kushner meets with Sergei Gorkov, the Putin-appointed CEO of the Russian state-owned Vnesheconombank. The meeting is arranged by Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Two weeks prior, Kushner and Kislyak discussed setting up a secret communication channel between the Trump team and Moscow.
Kushner’s meeting with Gorkov, the struggling bank’s CEO, came as Kushner was trying to find investors for a Fifth Avenue office building in Manhattan that is set to be heavily financed by Anbang Insurance Group, a firm with ties to the Chinese government.Business Insider
It is unclear why the meeting was planned or what the discussion consists of, but the White House and Russia can’t get their stories straight.
According to Putin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, the meeting was “ordinary business” relating to real estate and Kushner Companies.
According to the White House, the meeting was related to the Trump transition team.
According to Jared Kushner, the meeting was a favor for Kislyak.
He said Gorkov introduced himself and provided him with two gifts: a bag of dirt from a village in Belarus where Kushner’s grandparents were from and a piece of art from the same location. He said Gorkov discussed his bank and the Russian economy and described himself as friendly with Russian President Vladimir Putin.Associated Press
Some backstory on Vnesheconombank:
Between 2012 and 2014, Vnesheconombank was used as cover for Russian spy Evgeny Buryakov as he attempted to recruit New York City residents as intelligence sources for Moscow, according to the Department of Justice. Before that, Buryakov used Vnesheconombank as a cover to spy and recruit assets in South Africa.Business Insider
Photo: Gage Skidmore