Thomas Barrack, President and CEO of Colony Capital Inc., gestures as he speaks at the closing reception at the Milken Institute Japan Symposium in Tokyo, Japan, on Monday, March 25, 2019. The conference brings together business leaders and officials to discuss geopolitical, economic and social issues. issues facing Japan. Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota / Bloomberg via Getty Images
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Thomas Barrack, a private equity investor who is a close friend of former President Donald Trump, was arrested Tuesday morning in Los Angeles on federal charges of illegal lobbying for Trump for the United Arab Emirates.
Barrack, who was indicted on three other men in a seven-count indictment in Brooklyn, New York, federal court, was chairman of Trump’s 2017 founding fund.
Santa Monica, California, resident Barrack and the other defendants are accused of illegally pursuing the interests of the UAE under the leadership of senior officials in that nation, “by influencing the foreign policy stances of a candidate’s campaign in the 2016 US presidential election and then the US government. foreign policy positions in the future administration, ”said the Ministry of Justice.
Accused of the 74-year-old barracks of having acted and conspired to act as agents of the United Arab Emirates from April 2016 through April 2018 was Matthew Grimes, 27, of Aspen, Colorado, Rashid Sultan Rashid Al Malik Alshahhi and Rashid Al- Malik, a citizen of the United Arab Emirates.
Barrack, who founded the large private equity firm Colony Capital, is also charged with obstruction of justice and making several false statements during an interview in June 2019 with federal police.
“The defendants repeatedly took advantage of Barrack’s friendships and access to a candidate who was eventually elected president, senior campaign and government officials, and the US media to advance the foreign policy of a foreign government without revealing their true allegiance,” the deputy said. Attorney Mark Lesko from the National Security Department of the Department of Justice.
“The conduct alleged in the indictment is nothing short of a betrayal of these U.S. officials, including the former president,” Lesko said in a statement.
A spokeswoman for Trump did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on the arrest.
A spokesman for Barrack could not be immediately reached for comment.
Barrack resigned from Colony Capital’s CEO in 2020. In April, he resigned as chairman of the company’s board.
Federal prosecutors have been investigating Barrack’s alleged work on behalf of UAE interests for at least two years.
One of the events that caught their attention was a speech on energy policy that Trump held as a candidate for president in May 2016.
According to the indictment, Barrack “inserted language praising the UAE” into the speech, and “emailed a preliminary draft of the speech to Alshahhi for delivery to senior UAE officials. “
For the next two years, prosecutors claim that Barrack “sought and received direction and feedback, including speeches, from senior UAE officials in connection with national press screenings that Barrack used to advance the UAE’s interests.”
“During this period, Barrack never registered as a lobbyist for the United Arab Emirates, as required by the Foreign Agents Registration Act.”