Longtime ally and adviser to former President Donald Trump, Tom Barrack, was arraigned on Tuesday on charges of furtively acting in the United States as an United Arab Emirates agent. The 74-year-old is accused of scheming, not being able to register as a foreign agent, four counts of delivering false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and obstruction of justice.
The seven-count arraignment filed by the United States Attorney's office in Brooklyn, New York, claims that he, alongside an Emirati businessman and a former employee, acted in accordance with senior Emirati officials in order to influence public opinion in favor of the interests of UAE and to impact the former president's policy positions.
According to prosecutors, they would seek his custody at a court proceeding in LA on Tuesday.
Barrack spearheaded the committee that raised over $100 million for Trump's inauguration.
Details of the Indictment
According to the indictment in May 2016, Barrack initiated himself as the key communications channel for the UAE to the former president's campaign. Also, in May, he provided a co-plaintiff with a draft copy of an energy speech Trump was about to deliver. The co-plaintiff later sent it to an UAE official and requested for a response. An Emirati official responded in an e-mail to Barrack following Trump's speech that "everybody here" found the results favorable, reported WMAY.
Thomas Joseph Barrack of Santa Monica, California, was among three men indicted in NY federal court. A lawyer for Barrack, Matthew Herrington, did not have an immediate response when asked for feedback, reported WTAJ.
Barrack was commanded to be taken into custody in LA. On Monday, he is pending a bail hearing. He did not register with the United States government as an agent for the United Arab Emirates.
Matthew Grimes and Rashid Sultan Rashid Al Malik Alshahhi were the other two people indicted. Grimes, an employee of Barrack's, and Barrack were seized in California. The Justice Department indicated that Alshahhi is yet to be found, reported KLFY.
The crimes alleged in the indictment was a betrayal of United States officials including the former president, according to Acting Assistant Attorney General Mark Lesko.
For usage in media appearances, the plaintiffs are also claimed to have received "talking points" from senior United Arab Emirates officials. The defendants are also claimed to have agreed to promote the candidacy of a United Arab Emirates-favored individual to become a US ambassador to Abu Dhabi.
According to prosecutors, in Barrack's discussions with Al Malik, the plaintiff framed his efforts to acquire an official position within the administration as one that would allow him to further advance the interests of the UAE instead of the US.
Although the arraignment provides many examples of Barrack working closely with Al-Malik to leverage UAE interests, Barrack's intention for doing it still remains unclear.