Tom Barrack, the longtime friend of Donald Trump who advised the former president's 2016 campaign and led his inaugural committee, was a better friend to the United Arab Emirates, prosecutors say. The 74-year-old was arrested Tuesday and charged with secretly acting as an agent for the UAE, Politico reports. Barrack and two other men were charged in federal court with acting as unregistered foreign agents, reports the AP. Barrack was also charged with conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and four counts of making false statements to FBI agents. According to a federal indictment, Barrack used his access to the campaign to push the UAE's foreign policy goals—and after Trump was elected, he asked the UAE's leaders for a "wish list" of goals at various stages of Trump's presidency, from 100 days to the full term.
Prosecutors say Barrack, who raised a record-breaking $107 million for Trump's inauguration, inserted pro-UAE language into a Trump campaign speech and gave the country inside information on White House officials' views on Middle East issues. He allegedly pushed to become ambassador to the UAE or special envoy to the Middle East and told UAE businessman Rashid al Malik, his connection to the country's rulers, the appointment would "give ABU DHABI more power!" In the three years after Trump won the Republican nomination in July 2016, Barrack's real estate and private equity company, Colony Capital, received $1.5 billion in investments from the UAE and its close ally Saudi Arabia, reports the New York Times. Barrack denies wrongdoing and a spokesperson says he will be pleading not guilty. (Read more lobbying stories.)