Prosecutors say Barrack used his insider access to White House officials he gained through roles such as his post as chairman of Trump’s inaugural committee to agree to give the UAE “uninformed information.” public on the views and reactions of senior US government officials following a White House event meeting between senior US officials and senior United Arab Emirates officials.
A Barrack associate in his investment firm Colony Capital, Matthew Grimes, and a UAE businessman, Rashid Al-Shahhi, were also indicted in the case.
While the indictment gives many examples of Barrack working closely with Al-Shahhi to advance UAE interests, it says nothing about Barrack’s motivation to do so.
Barrack and Grimes were arrested in the Los Angeles area and were scheduled to appear in area federal court for the first time on Tuesday afternoon.
The indictment is the latest move by the Justice Department to strengthen enforcement of laws to limit and disclose foreign influence in the United States. However, the foreign agent status used to indict Barrack was not the Foreign Agents Registration Act, but a lesser-known statute. generally used to charge people accused of working under the direction of senior officials of a foreign government.