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Friday, October 07, 2022

America: Brookings president resigns due to investigation

The chairman of the Brookings Institution resigned on Sunday amid a federal investigation into whether he had illegally lobbied on behalf of Qatar, a wealthy Persian Gulf nation.

Retired General John Allen wrote in a letter to the study group that he was leaving with a “heavy heart”, although he did not provide a direct explanation.

“I know it is in the best interest of all concerned at this time,” Allen said in his letter.

Allen, a retired four-star Marine Corps general who led American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, made his announcement less than a week later. The Associated Press It was the first outlet to report the filing of new court documents showing that the FBI had confiscated electronic data from Allen as part of an investigation into lobbying activities.

Allen has not been charged with any crime and has denied any wrongdoing through a spokesperson.

Brookings, which placed Allen on leave a day after the Associated Press’s preliminary material was published, issued a statement thanking Allen for leading the study group during the coronavirus pandemic and for his various contributions. The body said it would report on the search for a new president.

New documents filed with the court detail Allen’s behind-the-scenes actions to help Qatar influence American politics in June 2017, when the U.S. A diplomatic crisis broke out between the monarchy and its neighbors.

An FBI agent said in an affidavit in support of a search warrant that there was “substantial evidence” that Allen had knowingly violated a pro-alien lobbying law, and had made false statements and withheld “derogatory documents.”

Allen’s alleged lobbying assignments included making him travel to Qatar and meeting with senior Qatari officials to advise him on how to influence US policy, as well as top White House officials and members of the White House. To promote American ideas. stated in the FBI affidavit. ,

Allen’s federal investigation has already been led by the former Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan, Richard G. Olsson, who pleaded guilty to federal charges this month, and Imad Zuberi, a prominent political donor who is serving a 12-year sentence on the charges, have already been implicated. Corruption. Several members of Congress have also been questioned.

Brookings, one of the United States’ most prestigious think tanks, appointed Allen as a senior fellow before appointing him president at the end of 2017 for a salary of more than $1 million a year, according to recent tax records. was appointed.

“The integrity and fairness of Brookings Scholarships is the institution’s greatest asset, and Brookings seeks to maintain its high ethical standards in all of its activities,” the think tank said in a statement on Sunday.

Qatar has long been a major source of financial support for Brookings, although Allen decided in 2019 to stop accepting new donations from the country.

Qatari officials have not responded to requests for comment on the Allen investigation.

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