Trump ally facing UAE lobbying charges released on bail

Trump ally facing UAE lobbying charges released on bail
Thomas Barrack must surrender passport and wear ankle bracelet following seven-count felony indictment

A federal judge in Los Angeles ordered the release of Thomas Barrack, a private equity investor and former campaign adviser to Donald Trump, on a massive $250m bond after reaching a deal with federal prosecutors to keep him out of jail before facing a trial on charges of illegally lobbying the former president on behalf of the United Arab Emirates.

Prosecutors warned a court earlier this week that the 74 year old could be a flight risk, as he has access to private aircraft, Lebanese citizenship, and “deep and longstanding ties to countries that do not have extradition treaties with the United States”.

The immense release bond – secured with $5m in cash – also includes conditions to surrender his passport and to wear an ankle monitor following a hearing in US District Court in California court on 23 juillet.

Mr Barrack and co-defendant Matthew Grimes remained in custody following their arrests on Tuesday; both men waived their right appear at their bail hearing. Mr Barrack will be arraigned in New York on Monday.

A seven-count felony indictment accuses them of working for the UAE in a years-long bid to influence Mr Trump’s foreign policy, according to prosecutors in New York.

“The conduct alleged in the indictment is nothing short of a betrayal of those officials in the United States, including the former president,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Mark Lesko said in a déclaration following the indictment. “Through this indictment, we are putting everyone – regardless of their wealth or perceived political power – on notice that the Department of Justice will enforce the prohibition of this sort of undisclosed foreign influence.”

Mr Barrack, who chaired the former president’s inauguration fund, has been charged with conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and acting as a foreign agent after allegedly conspiring with Mr Grimes and Rashid Sultan Rashid Al Malik Alshahhi to influence the former president’s campaign and administration from 2016 through April 2018.

Following Mr Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, Mr Barrack “informally advised senior US government officials on issues related to US foreign policy” while in regular contact with officials in the Middle East, according to the Justice Department.

“Neither Alshahhi nor Barrack nor Grimes provided the required notification to the US Attorney General that they were acting in the United States as agents of a foreign government,” prosecutors said.

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