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Tom Barrack, LA billionaire and Trump ally, accused of acting as UAE agent

Thomas Barrack, chairman of former President Trump’s inaugural committee and prominent Southern California businessman and philanthropist, was arrested Tuesday on federal charges that he and others were involved in a plot to shape Trump’s foreign policy for the benefit of the UAE and later. lied to investigators.

Barrack, 74, and two other men were indicted in New York federal court and charged with acting and conspiring to act as UAE agents between April 2016 – during Trump’s first presidential campaign – and April 2019.

The indictment also accuses Barrack of obstructing justice and making several false statements during a 2019 interview with federal agents.

A spokesperson for Barrack said he “made himself available to investigators on a voluntary basis from the start.” He added in a statement: “He is not guilty and will plead not guilty.”

Barrack is scheduled to appear Tuesday afternoon in federal court in downtown Los Angeles.

“The defendants have repeatedly leveraged Barrack’s friendships and access to a candidate who was ultimately elected president, to senior campaign and government officials, and to the US media to advance the political goals of a foreign government without revealing their true allegiances, “acting Asst. Atty. General Mark Lesko said in a statement.

Lesko presented the allegations as revealing “nothing less than a betrayal of those responsible in the United States, including the former president”.

Deputy Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. of the FBI New York Field Office said, “This case concerns covert attempts to influence our top officials, and when this corrupt behavior was discovered, we claim that Mr. Barrack went even further, obstructing and lying to the FBI special agents.

Barrack – who has a net worth of $ 1 billion, according to Forbes – has been friends with Trump for three decades and he planned the presidential inauguration in early 2017.

Los Angeles-based Barrack’s Colony Capital is a public investment firm with $ 44 billion in assets under management that often bets on distressed assets. In 2008, for example, Colony bailed out Michael Jackson when the late singer’s Neverland Ranch was on the verge of foreclosure.

The grandson of Lebanese Christian immigrants, Barrack also has business ties to the Middle East – and extensive knowledge of its politics and cultures – dating back to the early 1970s, when as a lawyer he worked on a project in Saudi Arabia and then spent the four years there as an advisor to the royal family.

At Colony Capital, Barrack also brought in various investors from the Middle East to help fund the company’s operations.

Along with partners in Qatar, Barrack was part of an investment group that bought Miramax Films in 2010, later selling the studio to investors in Qatar. However, its relations have been complicated since the blockade of Qatar launched in 2017 by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

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