Donald Trump‘s billionaire ally Thomas Barrack is being released on $250 million bond after being charged with illegally lobbying the Trump administration on behalf of the United Arab Emirates.
The 74-year-old reached a deal with prosecutors on Friday that will see him released from custody while he awaits trial on charges of illegal lobbying.
A federal magistrate judge in Los Angeles signed off on the conditions of the agreement, which will include surrendering his passport, complying with a curfew, and wearing an ankle bracelet with GPS monitoring.
The agreement also calls for Barrack to put up a $250 million bond, secured by $5 million cash, which would be forfeited if he does not appear for court proceedings.
Barrack, who chaired Trump’s inaugural fund in 2017 and founded the private equity firm Colony Capital, waived his right to appear in federal court.
He will be arraigned in federal court in Brooklyn, New York on Monday.
Thomas Barrack reached a deal with prosecutors on Friday that will see him released from custody while he awaits trial on charges of illegal lobbying
Barrack, who chaired Trump’s inaugural fund and was a frequent guest at the White House, was arrested in LA on Tuesday.
He and two others were charged with acting as unregistered foreign agents as they allegedly tried to influence US policy on the UAE’s behalf while Trump was running in 2016 and later while he was president.
The other two men charged are Barrack’s former assistant Matthew Grimes, 27, and Emirati businessman Rashid Sultan Rashid Al Malik Alshahhi, 43.
Grimes, of Aspen, Colorado, was also released on bond. He is a former executive at Barrack’s company.
Al Malik is a businessman from the United Arab Emirates who prosecutors said acted as a conduit to that nation’s rulers.
Barrack and Grimes were arrested in California while al Malik was at large, believed to be living somewhere in the Middle East, authorities said.
In court papers, prosecutors said al Malik was living in LA for years before fleeing the US three days after an April 2018 interview by law enforcement.
A seven-count indictment filed by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn alleged that Barrack, Grimes and Al Malik failed to register as lobbyists and used their influence to advance the UAE’s foreign policy goals in the United States.
Barrack is also alleged to have repeatedly lied during an FBI interview about his dealings with the UAE.
The indictment goes to the heart of the US′ longtime close relationship with the UAE and directly ties its de facto ruler, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to Barrack’s charges.
Barrack was a prominent supporter of Trump’s successful 2016 presidential campaign and directed his inaugural committee
Barrack, 74, (pictured left at the 2017 inauguration) was hit with seven-count indictment relating to trying to push the UAE’s agenda and shape the foreign policy of the administration
Barrack raised $107 million for Trump’s inaugural celebration, which was scrutinized both for its lavish spending and for attracting numerous foreign officials and businesspeople looking to lobby the new administration.
While the indictment made no allegations of wrongdoing by the inaugural committee, or by Trump — who was referenced only as ‘the Candidate,’ the ‘President-Elect’ and ‘the President’ — it said Barrack boasted that he had been a 30-year partner of Trump and could help the UAE gain US influence.
‘The defendants repeatedly capitalized on Barrack’s friendships and access to a candidate who was eventually elected President, high-ranking campaign and government officials, and the American media to advance the policy goals of a foreign government without disclosing their true allegiances,’ Acting Assistant Attorney General Mark Lesko said.
Barrack’s spokesperson has denied any wrongdoing, saying: ‘Mr Barrack has made himself voluntarily available to investigators from the outset. He is not guilty and will be pleading not guilty.’
Prosecutors said Barrack provided UAE government officials with sensitive information about developments within the Trump administration — including how senior U.S. officials felt about a yearslong boycott of Qatar conducted by the UAE and other Middle Eastern countries.
‘Worse, in his communications with Al Malik, the defendant framed his efforts to obtain an official position within the Administration as one that would enable him to further advance the interests of the UAE, rather than the interests of the United States,’ prosecutors wrote in a letter seeking his detention. They noted that he has citizenship in the U.S. and Lebanon, a country with no extradition treaty with the U.S.
Barrack is the founder of the private equity firm Colony Capital, though stepped down as the company’s chief executive in 2020, and in April resigned as executive chairman. He is pictured at the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in 2014
When Barrack tried to get Trump to appoint him as either the U.S. ambassador to the UAE or as special envoy to the Middle East, he wrote al Malik ‘that any such appointment ‘would give ABU DHABI more power!’ prosecutors wrote.
Barrack served as an informal adviser to Trump’s campaign in 2016 before becoming the inaugural committee chair. Beginning in January 2017, he informally advised senior U.S. government officials on Middle East foreign policy, prosecutors said.
Authorities cited several specific instances when Barrack or others allegedly sought to influence U.S. policies, noting that, in May 2016, Barrack inserted language praising the UAE into a campaign speech Trump delivered about U.S. energy policy and arranged for senior UAE officials to receive an advanced draft.
They said he also agreed to arrange meetings and phone calls between senior UAE officials and Trump, reviewed a PowerPoint presentation to be delivered to senior UAE officials on how to boost their influence in the U.S. with his help and repeatedly tried to conceal his conduct, even denying he’d ever been asked by al Malik to help the UAE.
Throughout 2016 and 2017, Barrack and Grimes received talking points and feedback from senior UAE officials in connection with Barrack’s national press appearances and communicated on a dedicated cellular telephone which had a secure messaging application to facilitate communications with senior UAE officials, prosecutors said.
They said that after one appearance in which Barrack repeatedly praised the United Arab Emirates, Barrack emailed al Malik, saying: ‘I nailed it … for the home team,’ referring to the UAE.
The billionaire is a longtime Trump ally and founder of the digital infrastructure-focused private equity firm DigitalBridge Group Inc, which was known as Colony Capital Inc before a rebranding announced in June.
Barrack stepped down as DigitalBridge’s chief executive in 2020.
In April, he resigned as executive chairman of the firm but has remained as a non-executive director. Forbes estimates his wealth at $1 billion.
Barrack was a prominent supporter of Trump’s successful 2016 presidential campaign and directed his inaugural committee.