Manafort associate charged with acting as foreign agent

An associate connected to a key figure in the case of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleaded guilty Friday to acting as a foreign agent for Ukraine without registering, and could face up to five years in prison.

The reporter went on to say that when she interviewed him earlier in the year, the Manafort associate was "very coy" about his work - and appears to have lied to her about working in the U.S.

The defendant is Sam Patten, a GOP operative with business ties to Cambridge Analytica, the International Republican Institute and Konstantin Kilimnik, the alleged Russian intel operative who was Paul Manafort's main man in Ukraine.

Manafort was recently convicted on eight counts of tax fraud, bank fraud, and failure to report foreign bank accounts.

Kilimnik is charged alongside Manafort in a separate criminal case brought in Washington by Mueller.

The charge stems from his work lobbying on behalf of a political party in Ukraine known as the Opposition Bloc, and the Ukrainian oligarch between 2014 and 2018.

The goal, prosecutors say, was to influence US policy, but they say Patten never filed under the Foreign Agents Registration Act or disclosed that he was representing the foreign businessman and the Opposition Bloc.

Mr. Manafort has also been charged with failing to register as a foreign agent for his work on behalf of pro-Russian Ukrainian interests, including the Opposition Bloc, and that trial is scheduled for September in Washington.

"[He] had previously filed under the Foreign Agents Registration Act for another client". Andrew Weissmann, a lawyer on Mueller's team who has been leading the Manafort prosecution, was present in court when Patten pleaded guilty. Patten praised Kilimnik at the time as a person who helped Manafort navigate the complicated Ukrainian political scene.

Michael Zeldin, a former federal prosecutor, predicted Patten will be a witness in the trial.

Court papers say Patten orchestrated a $50,000 payment to the inauguration committee through a third party to circumvent restrictions on foreign donations to the inaugural committee - a so-called "straw purchase".

Patten's work continued through Donald Trump's surprise election win.

According to court papers, Patten misled the committee during his testimony and withheld certain documents to hide that Foreigner B had been behind the purchase of inauguration tickets.

Manafort made most of his money working for former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych before he fled to Russian Federation in 2014, but like Patten also sought to drum up business with the Opposition Bloc in the aftermath of Yanukovych's exit. He also gave "misleading testimony" about his representation of foreigners in the U.S.to hide that he had failed to register as a foreign agent with the Justice Department.

No sentencing date has been set. It is being handled by the US attorney in DC and the DOJ National Security Division.

Patten violated FARA by contacting members of Congress, the executive branch, and the media without disclosing that work to the Justice Department, according to the documents.


Popular

CONNECT