That same year, the foundation transferred $1 million to the NYPD Intelligence Division’s International Liaison Program, which stations NYPD detectives throughout the world to work with local law enforcement on terrorism-related incidents.
The Intercept obtained a copy of a Police Foundation document which shows donors that have granted $1 million or more over four years. The list includes major financial institutions such as JPMorgan Chase and Barclays Capital, as well as the "Embassy of the United Arab Emirates."
Tax documents filed in the same year show a $1 million cash grant from the foundation to the NYPD Intelligence Division. The grant was to provide assistance to the NYPD International Liaison Program, documents state.
But the foundation denies the contribution was directed to the Intelligence Division.
"The gift was an unrestricted gift to the General Fund. No such donation funded the International Liaison Program," a spokesperson for the foundation told The Intercept.
"The gift was directed to upgrade NYPD equipment and facilities used to aid in criminal investigations throughout New York City," the spokesperson added.
The NYPD has had a presence in Abu Dhabi since at least 2009. In 2012 – the year of the $1 million donation – then-Commissioner Ray Kelly travelled to the UAE to sign an information-sharing agreement between the country and the department.
The Police Foundation – not taxpayers – funds the Liaison Program, according to comments Kelly made in 2012.
But the fact that the foundation funds Intelligence Division operations, while also taking donations from a foreign government, has experts questioning how these funds could potentially influence NYPD operations.
"When we’re talking about large sums of money from a foreign government potentially being used to fund essential police functions, it raises serious operational and legal questions," Michael Price, of the Brennan Center’s Liberty and National Security program, told the Intercept.
"There is a serious issue with transparency since the NYPD is conducting these operations on a private budget," he added. "It makes it incredibly difficult for the normal checks and balances to work."
Michael German, a former FBI agent also with the Brennan Center, said "any foreign government’s ‘assistance’ would invariably come with conditions and expectations, whether they are explicit or not."