Billionaire Kanye West received a multi-million dollar loan as part of the federal government’s pandemic rescue fund for his apparel brand Yeezy, according to data released by the US Treasury Department.
The loan – worth between $2 million and $5 million – was distributed through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which was set up to provide economic relief to small businesses during the global health crisis.
On Monday, July 6, the Trump administration released a list of the companies that received the largest sums of money, with other high-end designers such as Oscar de la Renta and Vera Wang also on the list.
According to a report disclosed by the US Treasury’s Small Business Administration, the loan granted to Yeezy LLC helped save 106 jobs.
However, the loan has raised questions about a conflict of interest given West’s outspoken support for President Donald Trump in the past – particularly considering he just announced on Twitter that he was running for president.
‘We must now realise the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future,’ he wrote. ‘I am running for president of the United States.’
Not only that, but many have wondered about West’s eligibility for the multi-million dollar loan considering his Yeezy empire was valued at almost $3 billion just last year. West is the sole owner.
The loans are designed to provide a lifeline to small businesses during the global health crisis, and to companies that can’t otherwise afford to pay their staff during these trying months.
Yet here is a billion-dollar empire receiving millions from an administration its owner has publicly praised time and time again, while other smaller companies don’t even receive enough to keep them afloat.
It isn’t just West’s fashion company that’s achieved billionaire status, either; in recent months, both he and wife Kim Kardashian West have celebrated becoming billionaires.
West has managed to turn his fortune around, going from $53 million in debt just four years ago to attaining billionaire status in April through his best-selling brand, according to .
Just last week, West claimed his wife was a billionaire, too. ‘I am so proud of my beautiful wife Kim Kardashian West for officially becoming a billionaire,’ he tweeted. However, later disputed his claims, estimating the reality TV star is worth $900 million.
Federal officials said the loans, which totalled $521 billion, supported more than 51 million jobs nationwide. However, while companies such as Yeezy received between $2 and $5 million, 87% of companies received loans of less than $150,000. The average was $107,000.
The Treasury released the list following mounting pressure from Democrats to disclose which businesses received loans, after receiving complaints about banks prioritising big customers, favouring companies with ties to the Trump Administration and giving money to large companies.