The CNBC network revealed that the UAE paid 374 million dollars to an advisor of former US President Donald Trump to gain political influence.
The network stated that a new indictment against Thomas Barrack reveals that he received funds from the UAE’s sovereign wealth fund, totalling $374 million, to pressure the Trump administration illegally in favour of the UAE.
Barrack, who headed the inaugural Trump Fund for 2017 and was a frequent guest in the White House, was secretly lobbying the Trump administration for the UAE between 2016 and 2018.
Barrack pleaded not guilty to a previous indictment on seven criminal counts last year and is awaiting trial, scheduled for this year.
The new indictment charges Barrack with nine criminal charges, including acting as an unregistered foreign agent and making false statements to authorities.
The indictment did not name the Emirati company that made the financial pledges. Barrack is the founder of the digital infrastructure-focused private equity firm DigitalBridge Group, formerly Colony Capital.
The American Inside Arabia website has previously highlighted the dangers of the UAE’s conspiracies to gain influence and use its links and resources to influence American policymakers.
The website considered that the arrest of Thomas Barrack, an ally of former US President Donald Trump, who is accused of working for the UAE government inside the White House, is only the tip of the iceberg.
The site said that it is surprising that while criticism directed at Saudi Arabia, Iran or the Assad regime is a way to mobilize support for any presidential candidate in the United States of America, the actions and policies of the UAE often go unnoticed.
It noted that most ordinary Americans associate the UAE with luxury hotels and malls more than with rogue and illegal behaviour.
Therefore, many did not pay attention to the statements of a former US State Department official who described Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed. “We made a little Frankenstein by transferring billions of dollars in technology related to weapons and surveillance to the UAE over the past two decades.”
The site says that Barrack (in addition to the American citizen Matthew Grimes and the Emirati Rashid Sultan Rashid Al-Malik Al-Shehhi) benefited from his position as a prominent advisor in the Trump campaign to “advance the interests of the UAE and provide it with intelligence by order of senior officials in the Emirates.”
According to him, according to the indictment issued by the US Department of Justice, Barrack referred to Al-Shehhi as “the UAE’s secret weapon” to promote its foreign political agenda in the United States.
According to the documents, they included many examples indicating that Barrack, Al-Shehhi and Grimes took many steps in America to advance the interests of the UAE. For example, in May 2016, Barak inserted language praising the UAE in Trump’s campaign speech on US energy policy.
Barak emailed an advance draft of the letter to al-Shehhi for delivery to senior Emirati officials, who praised what he had done.
“You made it for our team back home,” Barrack said in the email, referring to the UAE.
The site adds that Barack also used an encrypted messaging service on his mobile phone to communicate directly with senior officials in the UAE about his efforts to influence the Trump administration after he took office in 2017.
Yet these newly discovered Emirati criminal efforts to shape US policy in its favour are only the tip of the iceberg, he wrote.
“It is important to remember that Bin Zayed told Trump, through his envoy, George Nader, that he is enthusiastic with the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, to support Trump’s victory in the 2016 US presidential election against Hillary Clinton”.
After this offer of help, George Nader was quickly adopted as a close ally by Trump campaign advisers and frequently met with Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Michael Flynn, who became the president’s first national security adviser, The New York Times said.
At the time, Nader, with the help of former Blackwater CEO Eric Prince, pushed individuals in the Trump administration to green-light the use of private military contractors to serve the UAE in the Middle East.
It should be noted that Nader was convicted and imprisoned for the sexual exploitation of 10 children in the Czech Republic in 2003 and also pleaded guilty in the United States to the sex trafficking of a minor and the transmission of child pornography in 2020.
However, the main point here is the UAE’s transformation into one of the most influential powers in Washington with a high cost to democracy and human rights.
Reports show that the Emirati lobby has paid more than $132 million since 2011 (according to the announced figures) to secure Emirati interests in Washington, making it the largest spender among Middle Eastern countries.