WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has accused Thomas Barrack, a longtime friend of former President Donald Trump and chairman of his 2017 Inaugural Committee, for favorably influencing US policy toward the United Arab Emirates without registering as a foreign agent. accused of being involved in a comprehensive plan. required by US law.
A seven-count indictment was handed down on Tuesday against Barracks, 74, and two other aides, an American and another United Arab Emirates national.
Prosecutors allege that Barracks, who has known Trump since the 1980s, tried to influence him since April 2016, when Trump was campaigning for president, and until April 2018 during Trump’s four-year term in White. expanding during the first year of House.
The indictment against Barracks also accused him of obstructing justice and making multiple false statements to federal law enforcement agents when he interviewed him on June 20, 2019.
Following Barrack’s arrest on Tuesday, his attorney told US news outlets that Barracks “has made himself available to investigators voluntarily from the outset. He pleads not guilty and will plead not guilty.”
Mark Lesco, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s National Security Division, said in a statement that Barracks and his co-defendants “repeatedly took advantage of Barrack’s friendship and access to a candidate who would eventually become president, the highly placed campaign and Government officials were elected, and the American media to advance the policy goals of the (UAE) without disclosing their true allegiance.”
Lesko said his conduct “is nothing short of a betrayal of officials in the United States, including former presidents. Through this indictment, we all — regardless of their wealth or perceived political power — notice.” But the Justice Department will enforce the prohibition of such undeclared foreign influence.”
Prosecutors allege that Barracks was an informal adviser to Trump during his 2016 campaign, chaired his inaugural committee and then “informally advised senior US government officials on issues relating to US foreign policy in the Middle East.”
Barracks was then the executive chairman of a global investment management firm headquartered in Los Angeles, while one of his co-defendants, Matthew Grimes, 27, reported directly to Barracks at the investment company. The third defendant was identified as 43-year-old Rashid Sultan Rashid Al Malik Alshahi, a UAE citizen who worked as a UAE agent.
Prosecutors allege that Barracks and others took several actions to advance the interests of the United Arab Emirates without registering as foreign agents with the US government.
He accused Barracks of inserting language praising the UAE in a Trump campaign speech about US energy policy in May 2016. Prosecutors say Barracks, either directly or through Grimes or Alshahi, was in frequent contact with senior UAE leaders.
The Justice Department alleged in a statement that Barracks and others “sought direction and feedback from senior UAE officials, including talking points, in relation to national press appearances used to promote the interests of the UAE and received.”
After one such public statement, Barracks emailed Alshahi, saying, “I redeemed it for the home team,” referring to the UAE.
On another occasion, according to the government, Barracks and Grimes sought advice from senior UAE officials, before Barracks wrote an opinion piece for a national magazine in October 2016 and “at the instructions of senior UAE officials Removed some of the language, as relayed by Alshahi.”
The government says that after Trump won the 2016 election, Barracks sought a “wish list” of its short- and long-range goals from the Trump administration arriving from the UAE in December.
Prosecutors accused Barracks of providing non-public information to Alshahi about the response of US government officials following a White House meeting with senior UAE officials, shortly after Trump took office.
The indictment alleges that in September 2017, Alshahi told Barracks that the United Arab Emirates was against a proposed summit in the US in connection with an ongoing dispute between Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and other Middle Eastern governments. The Justice Department alleges that Barracks “sought to advise” Trump about the UAE’s stance and the summit never took place.
During his representation to the United Arab Emirates, prosecutors said Barracks used a dedicated cellphone and installed a secure messaging application so that he could interact with top UAE officials.
During Barrack’s 2019 interviews with FBI agents, the government alleged that he lied repeatedly, denying that Alshahi had ever requested that he take any action to advance the interests of the UAE. do.