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.

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