U.S. officials warned Jared Kushner last year that his friend, Chinese-American businesswoman Wendi Deng Murdoch, could be taking advantage of her close friendship with Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, to promote China’s business interests, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
Sources told The Journal that counterintelligence officials had warned Kushner about the relationship, and that they were concerned about Murdoch’s role in pushing for a Chinese-government funded garden in Washington, D.C.
The Chinese garden, which would have cost $100 million and would be located in the National Arboretum, would have included a 70-foot-tall tower that U.S. officials deemed a national security risk.
Officials feared that the structure could be used for surveillance, as it would have been located on a high patch of land less than five miles from the White House and U.S. Capitol building, according to the Journal.
Kushner and Trump, both White House advisers, have had a close relationship with Murdoch for years, including during her marriage to Rupert Murdoch. The couple divorced in 2013.
A spokesman for Wendi Deng Murdoch told the Journal that she “has no knowledge of any FBI concerns or other intelligence agency concerns relating to her or her associations” and that she “has absolutely no knowledge of any garden projects funded by the Chinese government.”