Trump friend Barrack sought millions in UAE investment while lobbying on behalf of UAE, prosecutors say


Thomas Barrack, a longtime friend of former President Donald Trump and chairman of his inaugural committee in 2017, sought hundreds of millions of dollars in UAE investment as he illegally pressured the administration Trump on behalf of the United Arab Emirates, according to a superseding indictment filed Tuesday in federal court in New York.

The superseding indictment adds two new charges of making false statements to investigators to Barrack’s 2021 indictment and provides new allegations about how Barrack, 75, lied to federal investigators when he denied facilitating phone calls between President-elect Trump and two Emirati officials in 2016.

Last year, Barrack and two co-conspirators were charged with “acting and conspiring to act as agents” of the United Arab Emirates between April 2016 and April 2018 without registering as foreign agents. Barrack was also charged with obstruction of justice and making multiple false statements to federal law enforcement officials.

Barrack pleaded not guilty to the original seven counts in 2021 and is awaiting trial. A spokesperson for Barrack declined to comment to NBC News on the replacement indictment.

Prosecutors said Barrack’s investment management firm, not named in the indictment but known as Colony Capital, received capital commitments from two UAE sovereign wealth funds totaling of $374 million in 2017, after receiving no new funding from the country from 2009 to 2016.

Colony Capital has since been renamed DigitalBridge Group Inc. A DigitalBridge spokesperson could not be reached for comment.

A spokesperson for Donald Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

When Barrack was first indicted in 2021, Acting Assistant Attorney General Mark Lesko of the Justice Department’s National Security Division said the conduct of the trio charged in the indictment “didn’t is nothing less than a betrayal of those officials in the United States, including the former President.”

The original indictment said that at the request of Emirati officials, Barrack used his long friendship with Trump to insert language into the then-candidate’s energetic speech in 2016 about the importance of working with “our Gulf allies”. After the election, and while he was chairman of Trump’s inaugural committee, Emirati officials asked Barrack for information about Trump’s choices to lead the State Department, CIA and Department of Defense, according to the case.

“We go through them in real time and I have our high-profile regional interest. When you get a chance, let’s talk on the phone,” Barrack wrote to officials.

Barrack also worked with officials during the transition on a plan to influence Trump’s foreign policy for the entirety of his first term, according to the indictment.

The original indictment also detailed how, in January 2017, Barrack’s deputy and co-conspirator in the indictment, Matthew Grimes, wrote in a text message that he had arranged a call between the President Trump and an Emirati official.

“We can take credit for the phone call,” Grimes texted the third accomplice in the indictment, Rashid Al Malik of the United Arab Emirates. Grimes pleaded not guilty, and his attorney declined to comment for this story to NBC News. Al Malik is on the run outside the United States

Barrack was arrested in the Los Angeles area last July, according to law enforcement officials familiar with the case, and is on bail pending trial. A spokesperson for Barrack said at the time that he “voluntarily made himself available to investigators from the outset. He is not guilty and will plead not guilty.

Prosecutors said in court filings that Barrack provided UAE government officials with “non-public sensitive information about developments within the administration, including information about the positions of several senior officials. of the US government regarding the Qatari blockade led by the United Arab Emirates and other countries in the Middle East”. Eastern country.

The indictment says Barrack was questioned about the demands of UAE officials by the FBI in 2019, and told officers the UAE never asked him about the administration. of Trump.

The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia blocked Qatar from 2017 to 2021. President Trump tweeted approval of the blockade in 2017.


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