Washington Operative Who Lobbied For Ukrainian Party Charged

03 September, 2018, 01:52 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • Washington Operative Who Lobbied For Ukrainian Party Charged

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's ex-associate Sam Patten has been charged with failing to register as a foreign agent in the United States, Bloomberg reports.

Patten confirmed his involvement with Cambridge Analytica to The Daily Beast, saying he assisted the firm's USA projects in 2014 and also "several overseas campaigns".

The charges are spelled out in a criminal information, which often precedes a guilty plea.

Prosecutors with the Justice Department's national security division and the USA attorney's office in the District contended that Patten formed a company with a Russian national, identified only as "Foreigner A", to engage in lobbying and political consulting services.

The Russian national is referred to only as "Foreigner A", but he is believed to be Konstantin Kilimnik, who worked closely with Paul Manafort for years in Ukraine. Kilimnik also is a co-defendant in a pending case against Manafort in Washington, brought by special counsel Robert Mueller's team, that accuses them both of witness tampering.

The charges said Patten worked with his Russian partner to set up meetings between an unnamed "prominent Ukraine oligarch" and member of the US Congress and their staff "to influence United States policy".

Patten "knew at the time that he took all of the actions described" that he was supposed to register as a foreign agent, but that he failed to do so, prosecutors charge.

Prosecutors said this violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Patten was charged after Mueller's office referred his case to prosecutors in Washington, DC.

Patten appeared in federal court in Washington on Friday.

No sentencing date has been set. To avoid rules banning the foreign donations, Patten redirected the funds through a straw donor. Jackson is the judge presiding over Manafort's second trial, which is expected to begin on September 24. The charge is a felony that is punishable by a statutory maximum of up to five years in prison, and potential financial penalties.

Patten admitted to arranging for a U.S. citizen to act as a straw purchaser to pay $50,000 for four tickets to the inauguration of President Donald Trump on behalf of a Ukrainian oligarch, who reimbursed Patten through a Cypriot account. Mr. Patten and Mr. Kilimnik created a company called Begemot Ventures International in February, 2015, according to corporate records filed in Washington.

Manafort's relationship with Kilimnik stretches back years.

Kilimnik and Manafort, meanwhile, have been indicted on allegations tied to their own work in Ukraine.

After the congressional testimony, Patten then destroyed documents relating to his foreign work.

A veteran Republican lobbyist with reported ties to a Russian national whom special counsel Robert Mueller indicted in June pleaded guilty Friday to foreign lobbying violations.

Patten also reportedly worked at the OR office of Cambridge Analytica's parent company, SCL Group, on voter targeting in the US 2014 midterm election cycle, according to the Daily Beast, which said he described his work as developing "microtargeting" technologies "adopted by at least one major USA presidential candidate".



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