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Serbian President Dismisses Claims of Favoring Kushner in Real Estate Project

Aleksandar Vucic, the president of Serbia, brushed aside allegations on Monday suggesting that he intentionally directed a significant real estate venture in Belgrade, Serbia’s capital, towards Jared Kushner, former President Donald J. Trump’s son-in-law, with hopes of influencing Trump’s return to the White House.

Amidst swirling reports that Kushner was on the brink of finalizing a $500 million investment deal for the redevelopment of a prominent site in central Belgrade, Vucic scoffed at the notion of using such a project for political leverage. Speaking at a rally, Vucic derided the speculations, exclaiming, “I died laughing… I am a miracle. It is incredible what all I can do.”

Kushner, who served as a senior adviser in the Trump administration, has teamed up with Richard Grenell, another former Trump aide, to pursue the venture.

Under the proposed agreement, Kushner’s investment firm would secure a 99-year lease at no cost, granting them the rights to construct a luxury hotel, apartment complex, and museum on the premises of the former Yugoslav Ministry of Defense headquarters, bombed by NATO forces in 1999.

News of the potential deal sparked immediate backlash from opposition leaders during a parliamentary session in Serbia. They criticized the lack of transparency in informing them about the plan and expressed dismay over allowing a company linked to the Trump family to profit from a site with historical significance.

Aleksandar Pavic, a member of parliament from an opposition party, lambasted the proposal as lacking in dignity and respect for the country’s heritage. He hinted at potential repercussions, including opposition to the appointment of a new parliament leader aligned with Vucic.

While Vucic acknowledged some awareness of Kushner’s proposal, he indicated that the finer details were being handled by the finance minister, Sinisa Mali, whom Grenell has referred to as a personal acquaintance.

In defense of Mali’s involvement, Vucic praised his competence and reliability. Grenell, in a social media post from 2021, shared a photo of himself with Mali, describing their time together positively.

However, the apparent camaraderie between Grenell and Mali was ridiculed by another member of parliament, Aleksandar Jovanovic, who raised concerns about the friendship and questioned the potential ramifications of the project.

Meanwhile, Dragan Djilas, a prominent opposition leader and former mayor of Belgrade, vowed to oppose the project, denouncing the notion of granting land for free and emphasizing the need to intervene to prevent it from proceeding.

In response to the criticisms, Kushner and Grenell defended the initiative, framing it as an opportunity for the United States to contribute to reconciliation efforts in the aftermath of the NATO bombing. They asserted that profits generated from the redevelopment would be shared with Serbia, symbolizing progress and fostering friendship.

The project in Serbia is part of a larger endeavor by Kushner and Grenell to develop luxury hotels and related ventures in the region, with additional projects planned in Albania. The total investment in the region is estimated to be around $1 billion, according to company officials.

As the controversy surrounding the real estate venture continues to unfold, tensions between government officials and opposition leaders underscore the broader implications of the proposed redevelopment on Serbia’s political landscape and historical legacy.

Chris Matthews
Chris Matthews
I am a Political News Journalist of The National Era
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