- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 7, 2020

The high-end sushi restaurant and hotel chain co-founded by actor Robert De Niro accepted as much as $27.7 million in taxpayer-backed loans from the Paycheck Protection Program, according to government filings released Monday.

The nationwide chain, founded by Mr. De Niro, celebrity chef Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa and film producer Meir Teper, received 14 loans from the federal small business relief program established in response to the coronavirus pandemic, CNBC first reported.

The disclosure by the Small Business Administration provides only a range for the loan sizes instead of precise dollar amounts. The Nobu group, for instance, received as much as $27.7 million or as little as $11 million, CNBC reported.

Some other chains, including Dig Inn, Five Guys, Mod Pizza and Chopt, received PPP loans of at least $5 million, CNBC reported.

A controversy regarding the PPP erupted in April upon the news that well-funded companies such as Shake Shack, Potbelly, Ruth’s Hospitality Group, Nathan’s Famous and the Los Angeles Lakers had all received loans under the program. They all responded to the backlash by returning the loan proceeds.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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