What is it they say about the company you keep? On Tuesday yet another of twice-impeached former president Donald Trump’s longtime friends was arrested and indicted. Thomas J. Barrack, a billionaire businessman who chaired Trump’s inaugural committee, was taken into custody in California and indicted on foreign lobbying charges related to his dealings with the United Arab Emirates, according to an indictment filed in Brooklyn federal court. Barrack lives in Los Angeles.
Two other defendants also were accused of acting and conspiring to act as agents of the UAE during the period of April 2016 – April 2018. Law enforcement authorities allege that Barrack lied to FBI agents during a 2019 interview when they questioned him about his interactions with the Middle East country.
Barrack, Matthew Grimes, a former top executive at Barrack’s company, and Rashid al-Malik Alshahhi, an Emirati businessman who is close to the U.A.E. rulers, were charged with failing to register as agents of the United Arab Emirates government.
Barrack, like Trump, made a fortune in real estate and was one of his closest advisors during the campaign and during his presidency. He frequently visited Middle Eastern leaders and is reported to have spoken regularly with Trump, providing him with briefings on those talks
The inaugural committee that he chaired has come under federal investigation for its spending and activities. He joins a long list of Trump friends, campaign associates and other advisers who have been hit with criminal charges, including his former campaign chairman (Paul Manafort), the chief financial officer for his company (Allen Weisselberg), the former Trump Organization lawyer (Michael Cohen), a former White House strategist (Steve Bannon) and his former national security adviser (Michael Flynn).