Trump Ally Thomas Barrack, Indicted Over Illegal UAE Lobbying, Reaches Bail Deal With Prosecutors
18:03 GMT 23.07.2021 (Updated: 19:28 GMT 23.07.2021)
© REUTERS / HENRY ROMEROFILE PHOTO: Billionaire real estate investor Thomas Barrack, Chief Executive Officer of Colony Capital, holds a meeting with the media to discuss investment plans in Mexico and Latin America, in Mexico City, Mexico May 22, 2019.
© REUTERS / HENRY ROMERO
The US Department of Justice announced earlier this week that the longtime Trump ally had been taken into custody for violating foreign lobbying laws. The agency's investigation had been ongoing for at least two years.
A bail agreement for Thomas Barrack, a longtime confidant to former US President Donald Trump who is accused of violating foreign lobbying laws, was reached on Friday, effectively paving the way for the billionaire businessman's looming release from custody.
Barrack's Friday court hearing in Los Angeles, California, concluded that the Trump ally could be released from custody while he awaits trial on federal charges that include illegally acting as a foreign agent, obstruction of justice and making false statements to federal agents.
The obstruction and false statement charges stem from a June 2019 interview that Barrack had with federal investigators.
US prosecutors have requested that Barrack be fitted with an ankle bracelet, allowing federal agents to track his travels until at least the next scheduled court date. The bail package included a $250 million bond secured by $5 million in cash.
Barrack has been jailed since his Tuesday arrest in the Golden State, specifically in Los Angeles. US prosecutors had been arguing in favor of holding off on a bail agreement for Barrack over concerns that he could flee, as he holds Lebanese citizenship and owns a private jet.
A release issued by the US Department of Justice revealed that the 74-year-old founder of private equity firm Colony Capital had come under investigation after officials were tipped off to Barrack's efforts to illegally lobby on behalf of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) between April 2016 and April 2018.
At the time, while also serving as a confidant for the former president, Barrack had also taken on the role of chairman for Trump's 2017 inaugural funds.
Evidence outlined in a seven-count indictment states that Barrack had been working with UAE citizen Rashid Sultan Rashid Al Malik Alshahhi and Colorado resident Matthew Grimes to advance UAE interests during Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and throughout the Trump White House until April 2018.
All three individuals are facing illegal foreign lobbying charges.
US prosecutors have also reached a deal with Grimes, according to CNBC, which noted that Barrack and Grimes are expected to be arraigned on July 26 in Brooklyn, New York, where the indictment was originally filed. Alshahhi remains at-large.
News of Barrack's bail agreement came moments after reports surfaced detailing that a company backed by the billionaire had informed the US Securities and Exchange Commission that it would be abandoning a push to go public after the investor was hit with federal charges. The firm, known as the Falcon Peak Acquisition Corp, had first applied for an initial public offering of stock in March.