Serbian Leader Says Kushner Deal Is Not an Effort to Influence Trump

The president of Serbia on Monday batted away any suggestion that he might have intentionally tried to steer a valuable real estate project in Serbia’s capital to Jared Kushner, Donald J. Trump’s son-in-law, in an effort to influence Mr. Trump should he return to the White House.

“I died laughing,” the Serbian leader, Aleksandar Vucic, said at a rally, referring mockingly to news reports that Mr. Kushner was close to an agreement to invest $500 million in redeveloping a high-profile site in central Belgrade, the capital. “I read in some papers that I used this for a political influence on Trump, that corrupted America or someone in America. I am a miracle. It is incredible what all I can do.”

Mr. Kushner, who was a senior White House adviser under Mr. Trump, has teamed up with a second former Trump aide, Richard Grenell, on the plan.

The tentative agreement between the Kushner team and the Serbian government would grant Mr. Kushner’s investment firm a 99-year lease, at no charge, and the right to build a luxury hotel and apartment complex and a museum on the site of the former headquarters of the Yugoslav Ministry of Defense in Belgrade, which was bombed by NATO in 1999.

News of the proposal provoked strong objections on Monday from opposition party leaders in Serbia during a meeting of the parliament.

Opposition party leaders said they had not been properly informed of the plan and called it inappropriate that an American company owned by a Trump family member would be allowed to earn profits off a site that a United States-led coalition bombed 25 years ago.

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