Jared Kushner plots Balkan development deals

Luxury real estate deals nearing in Albania, Serbia

Jared Kushner’s Investment Firm Planning Projects in Balkans

From left: Jared Kushner and former White House official Richard Grenell (Getty)

Jared Kushner has been in no rush to deploy his firm’s investments, but is floating plans for luxury development deals in the Balkans. 

Kushner’s Affinity Partners is closing on several significant real estate deals in the Balkans, he confirmed to the New York Times. The deals would represent some of the biggest investments made by Kushner’s firm, while also reigniting ethical questions he and his father-in-law, Donald Trump.

In Belgrade, the firm would sign a 99-year lease with the Serbian government to build a luxury hotel and 1,500-unit residential project. The project at the former Yugoslav Army headquarters — destroyed by NATO in 1999 — would also have a museum.

The site is the same one eyed by Donald Trump two years before he began his presidential campaign, and where Trump Organization associates traveled for an inspection, according to the Times. The deal was ultimately scrapped when Trump was elected in 2016, when he promised to end foreign dealmaking. 

Another plan is to build a luxury hotel and villas on Sazan, an island in the south of Albania that was used as a secret military base for submarines. 

It’s been vacant since the end of the Cold War, but stretches two square miles and is a short speedboat ride away from another luxury resort destination being overhauled with the help of Saudi Arabia’s government (which is Kushner’s biggest backer, though it’s unclear if its $2 billion investment will be put to use here).

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In the same region of Albania, Kushner is also planning a project on the Zvërnec peninsula, which would include hotels and hundreds of villas.

Two of the three sites are owned by the nations’ respective governments. 

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A key figure in these deals is Trump’s one-time acting director of national intelligence, Richard Grenell, who was also a special envoy to the Balkans. Grenell is privately making a play to be Trump’s secretary of state should the former president be reelected, but has said publicly that he’s undecided about any involvement in a Trump administration.

Still, questions of conflicts of interest abound, even as Kushner keeps more distance from Trump post-Jan. 6. Kushner denied any connection to Trump in these deals and denied getting preferential treatment in them.

Should the controversial deals close, Asher Abehsera, a California-based real estate developer and founder of LIVWRK, would handle day-to-day project management.

Holden Walter-Warner