Washington — Thomas Barrack, a close adviser to former President Trump and chair of his inaugural committee, was arrested Tuesday morning and charged with a violating federal lobbying law after allegedly failing to disclose his work on behalf of the United Arab Emirates, the Justice Department said.
A seven-count indictment was unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn charging Barrack and two others, Matthew Grimes and Rashid Sultan Rashid Al Malik Alshahhi, for their alleged efforts between April 2016 and April 2018 acting as agents of the UAE. Barrack attempted to influence the foreign policy positions of then-candidate Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign and later the incoming Trump administration, according to the indictment.
Federal prosecutors claim Barrack and the two others sought to influence public opinion in the U.S. in favor of UAE interests. Barrack is also facing charges of obstruction of justice and lying to federal agents during a June 2019 interview.
He and Grimes, an employee of Barrack’s, were arrested in California and are set to appear in court in Los Angeles on Tuesday afternoon. Alshahhi remains at large, according to the Justice Department.
Barrack will plead not guilty, his spokesman, Matt Herrington, said in a statement.
“Tom Barrack made himself voluntarily available to investigators from the outset. He is not guilty,” he said.