U.S.

Trump inaugural chair Tom Barrack arrested, accused of being UAE agent

The chairman of former President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee, Thomas Barrack, was charged in a conspiracy to illegally advance the interests of the United Arab Emirates and leverage his political connections to Trump to push that effort.

Barrack, 74, of Santa Monica, California, was one of three charged in a seven-count indictment accusing the group of conspiring to act as agents of the UAE for two years ending in April 2018. The former Trump confidant also was charged with obstruction of justice for “making multiple false statements” during a 2019 interview with federal agents.

“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. “The conduct alleged in the indictment is nothing short of a betrayal of those officials in the United States, including the former president.”

Federal authorities referred to an array of high level advisory positions Barrack held while attempting to exert influence on behalf of the UAE, including as a Trump campaign consultant; inaugural committee chairman; and as an adviser on foreign policy in the Middle East. Barrack, prosecutors said, also “sought appointment” to the government’s post as Special Envoy to the Middle East. Barrack and Trump have been friends for decades and Barrack was a significant fundraiser for Trump’s presidential campaign.

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