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Trump aide indicted for lobbying for UAE

Arabian Post Staff

Trump’s former inaugural chairman Tom Barrack has been indicted for illegally promoting the interests of UAE by building a backchannel to senior US officials, US media reports said.

According to Bloomberg, Barrack and two of his associates were charged with failing to register as foreign agents for work they allegedly did to promote the United Arab Emirates’ foreign policy interests and increase its political sway in the U.S.

Barrack’s conduct “strikes at the very heart of our democracy,” prosecutors said, when he “capitalized” on his position as an outside adviser to the Trump campaign, at the direction of UAE senior officials and their intermediaries. Through Barrack, the Emirates developed a backchannel to the Trump campaign and then the administration, according to the indictment.

Influence peddling is certainly not new in Washington, but instead of relying solely on registered lobbyists or its diplomats, the UAE turned to Barrack, who had known Trump for decades and was angling for a role as a special envoy to the Middle East, Bloomberg said quoting prosecutors.

The indictment describes an unidentified Emirati official who at one point dismisses regular diplomatic channels for pushing the country’s policies, telling one of the defendants that “he knows ambassadors can’t do much and they are limited even if they are active.” Instead, they picked Barrack to be the UAE’s “only channel” to Trump.

That relationship yielded results, some small and some large, according to the charges. In one case, prosecutors detail excited messages exchanged among the defendants and unidentified Emirati officials when then-candidate Trump mentions Gulf allies in an energy campaign speech. At another point, Barrack said he was able to dissuade the Trump administration from holding a Camp David summit to try to resolve a dispute between leaders of the UAE and other Middle East governments with Qatar.

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