Ivanka Trump's new DC landlord wants her father's administration to lift block on controversial $40bn mine

Billionaire Andrónico Luksic owns house Ms Trump moved into following inauguration - and is suing US to gain access to vast mineral resource on US Forest Service land

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Ivanka Trump’s landlord is a Chilean billionaire suing the US government over a multi-billion dollar mine, it has emerged.

Donald Trump’s daughter, and husband Jared Kushner, who is a senior adviser to the US President, started renting a $5.5 million home in Washington DC around the time of the inauguration.

The ultimate owner, Andrónico Luksic, is lobbying the government to persuade it to give the green light for a huge and environmentally controversial mine in Minnesota.

It raises yet more questions over Mr Trump’s family ties to big global business and its potential to corrupt the administration.

“It is a political-appearance question,” said ethics lawyer Rob Walker, of Wiley Rein LLP.

“Deservedly or not, critics may still question the propriety of entering into any significant transaction with an individual with these apparent interests before the administration.”

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports how Tracy DC Real Estate Inc, which Mr Luksic owns, bought the six-bedroom house in the Kalorama neighbourhood in late December.

The famous couple moved in towards the end of January after a broker, according to a White House spokesman, “put it all together”.

 

But the newspaper claims the house was not listed for rent on the Metropolitan Regional Information System, which advertises listings.

Trevor Potter, a Republican lawyer who chaired the Federal Election Commission, said: “To me, the favour is having a house made available to them on short notice.”

Mr Luksic’s family is reportedly the wealthiest in Chile and Forbes values its mining, banking and industrial empire at $13.1bn.

In September, Twin Metals Minnesota LLC, a Luksic firm, sued the US government in a federal court over the preliminary move by the Interior Department to deny renewals of two mineral leases.

In its waning days in December, the Barack Obama administration officially blocked the leases, despite the firm reportedly spending $160,000 on lobbying Congress.

It means another Luksic company, Antogagasta PLC, cannot tap into an estimated $40bn in minerals.

The area sits on US Forest Service land, next to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, which is a 1.1m acre tract of lakes and forest protected by government since 1926.

A Twin Metals spokesman told WSJ it has asked Mr Trump’s team to reverse the mineral-lease decision.

The fact Mr Luksic is effectively providing a roof over Mr Trump’s daughter’s head may raise questions over whether the US President owes the South American tycoon anything in return.

Rodrigo Terré, a relative of Mr Luksic who manages his investments, said there was “categorically” no relationship between the house and the Minnesota dispute.

Mr Luksic admits meeting Mr Trump once at a New England Patriots game about four years ago.

Mr Luksic – tweeting in Spanish – has since called the WSJ article “lamentable” because the house and mine are “two completely independent subjects”.

He also tweeted: “I do not know Trump or any member of his family. Four or five years ago I greeted him at the Patriots’ stadium in Boston.”

Mr Terré said the company bought the Washington house because it wanted to capitalise on Mr Trump’s victory by offering rental for government employees.

The Independent has also contacted the White House for comment.

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