Top donor reportedly sold access to key politicians for millions in foreign cash: report

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A leading donor to Republicans and Democrats reportedly sold access to key politicians for millions in foreign cash, The Associated Press reported on Sunday.
Imaad Zuberi, qui pleaded guilty to make illegal donations to American candidates on behalf of foreign nationals, allegedly organized meetings between foreign and American politicians while leading an unsophisticated straw donor plot.

“Everyone wants to come to Washington to meet people,” Zuberi said in a 2015 email obtained by the PA in which he sought to schedule a meeting between the president of Guinea and a member of Congress. “We get reunion requests from all the bastards in the world, warlords, kings, queens, life presidents, military dictators, chieftains, tribal leaders, etc.”

The Justice Department’s investigation into Zuberi would only have led to charges against a minor associate and did not publicly name the politicians who received donations.

The PA conducted its own investigation, in which it identified the associates, facilitators and targets of Zuberi’s plot through private emails, court documents, campaign financial reports and interviews with more than three dozens of people.

The AP reported that documents and interviews showed Zuberi carried out a scheme in which he paid other people’s donations to politicians with his credit cards and used cutouts, including for a deceased person and for names he was inventing.

Prosecutors called Zuberi a “mercenary” political donor who worked for years as an unregistered foreign agent for at least six countries and officials, sending nearly $ 1 million in illegal campaign donations over five years.

Emails indicated that Zuberi at least attempted to arrange a meeting in 2015 with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish Ambassador to the United States Serdar Kilic, then chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Ed RoyceEdward (Ed) Randall Royce These are the 17 GOP women newly elected to the House this year, Young Kim eliminates Democrat in rematch in the California House Adviser on Capitol Hill on insurance (R-Calif.) Then rank member Eliot EngelEliot Lance Engel Meet the three Democrats who could run House foreign affairs Trump gives in as GSA advises Biden’s transition to begin Dozens of progressive groups endorse Joaquin Castro for foreign affairs presidency MORE (DN.Y.).

Zuberi also reportedly earned $ 9.8 million from the Qatari government, most of it illegally, prosecutors said, as he lobbied Congress on behalf of the country. Law enforcement officials said his work with Qatar was under investigation, saying “US policy has been altered to align with Qatar’s interests.”

He was also allegedly involved in a plot to get Congress to pressure the Bahraini government on behalf of a businessman who was arguing with a Bahraini official. Twelve members of Congress sent letters on the subject, which Zuberi’s lawyers called a “common constituent service.”

Zuberi said he “helped facilitate” donations from foreign agents and admitted to unregistered lobbying for Sri Lanka, but said his other work for countries and others did not require him. to register as a foreign agent. He also maintains that the amount of the donations was lower than what prosecutors claim.

Prosecutors say Zuberi’s net worth exceeds $ 30 million, the “vast majority” of which is the result of illegal activity. Federal prosecutors had previously alleged Last year, Zuberi offered six witnesses $ 6 million for their silence in the case against him.

They are asking Zuberi to serve at least 10 years in prison and pay a fine of $ 10 million, as well as nearly $ 16 million to the Internal Revenue Service.



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