Tom Barrack, the SoCal businessman and chair of Donald Trump’s inaugural committee, was arrested Tuesday on federal charges that he conspired to steer the onetime President’s foreign policy toward helping his pals in the United Arab Emirates, and that he lied to investigators about it.
As the Los Angeles Times reports, the 74-year-old Colony Capital investment firm boss and two other men were indicted in New York federal court Tuesday on charges of acting and conspiring to act as agents of the UAE beginning during Trump’s campaign in April 2016, through April 2019.
Barrack is further accused in the indictment of obstructing justice and making false statements to federal investigators during a 2019 interview.
“The defendants repeatedly capitalized on Barrack’s friendships and access to a candidate who was eventually elected president, high-ranking campaign and government officials, and the American media to advance the policy goals of a foreign government without disclosing their true allegiances,” acting Assistant Attorney General Mark Lesko said in a statement.
Lesko added that the alleged crimes are “nothing short of a betrayal of those officials in the United States, including the former president.”
Barrack—who Forbes estimates is worth $1 billion, and whose L.A.-based investment firm has $44 billion in assets—is the grandson of Lebanese Christian immigrants and has strong ties to the Middle East dating back to the 1970s, when he spent four years as an advisor to the royal family of Saudi Arabia.
Barrack was scheduled to appear in federal court in downtown L.A. Tuesday afternoon. A representative for Barrack told the Times that the investor “has made himself voluntarily available to investigators from the outset,” and stated, “He is not guilty and will be pleading not guilty.”
Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s New York field office, William F. Sweeney Jr., said in a statement, “This case is about secret attempts to influence our highest officials, and when that corrupt behavior was discovered, we allege Mr. Barrack went even further, obstructing and lying to FBI special agents.”
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