Manafort associate charged over Ukraine lobbying

Manafort associate charged over Ukraine lobbying

Manafort associate charged over Ukraine lobbying

Patten was charged via a criminal information, which is a document that prosecutors use when a defendant waives an indictment.

Along with being an associate of Manafort's and an employee at the OR office of Cambridge Analytica's parent company, Patten was also an old friend and regular business associate of Konstantin Kilimnik, a man suspected of having ties to Russian intelligence. The former Trump campaign chairman was found guilty earlier this month by a jury in Alexandria, Va., on on 8 of 18 counts of bank and tax fraud.

Manafort still faces more charges, including obstruction allegations against him and Kilimnik for alleged witness tampering.

Prosecutors with the Justice Department's national security division and the USA attorney's office in the District contended that Patten formed a company with a Russian national, identified only as "Foreigner A", to engage in lobbying and political consulting services.

Washington lobbyist W. Samuel Patten pleaded guilty Friday to acting as an unregistered foreign agent in the United States for Ukrainians from 2014 until 2017.

Prosecutors say in court papers that Patten did not register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act even though he was doing work for a Ukrainian political party called the Opposition Bloc.

Patten also agreed he had steered an illegal foreign donation to President Trump's inauguration, telling prosecutors that he arranged for an American citizen to act as a "straw donor" to give $50,000 to Trump's Inauguration in place of a Ukrainian businessman who was legally barred from contributing to the event.

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The case was brought by the USA attorney's office in Washington and the Department of Justice's National Security Division, and not by special counsel Robert Mueller, whose team has been investigating potential coordination between Moscow and the Trump campaign.

Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, referred Patten's case to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.

That alarmed allies of Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine's president, who is generally regarded as more pro-Western, and it emboldened his pro-Russian opponents, who had held power from 2010 to 2014 partly through the efforts of Manafort and his former right-hand man, Rick Gates.

The description of the oligarch, including his attendance at Trump's inauguration and the placing of an op-ed in February 2017 by Patten, appeared to match that of Serhiy Lyovochkin, an Opposition Bloc lawmaker and Yanukovych's former chief of staff.

Manafort's name was not mentioned once during Friday's hearing. Patten did not speak to reporters at the court, but apologized to family and friends on Facebook after entering his plea. The unidentified oligarch was one of their biggest benefactors, the charging documents said. It is being handled by the US attorney in DC and the DOJ National Security Division.

According to Liu's documents, Patten violated FARA by contacting members of Congress and the executive branch, as well as the media.

No sentencing date has been set.

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