Thomas Barrack, Trump Fund-Raiser, Is Indicted on Lobbying Charge
The indictment does not explicitly name Crown Prince Mohammed, but appears to clearly refer to him as “Emirati Official 1.” For instance, it states that “Emirati Official 1” met with Mr. Trump at the White House on May 15, 2017, the same day Crown Prince Mohammed met with the president. Other descriptions also match that of Crown Prince Mohammed, often referred to by American officials as M.B.Z.
The indictment said that “Emirati Official 1” worked with Mr. Barrack to help scuttle U.S. plans for a conference at Camp David, Md., to press the Emirates to mend the rift with Qatar, another American partner.
The indictment also referred to Mr. Barrack’s work with “Emirati Official 5,” who appears to fit the description of the Emirates’ influential ambassador to Washington, Yousef al-Otaiba. The indictment said that early in the Trump transition, the official wrote to Mr. Barrack to ask if he had insight into the new administration’s foreign policy appointments.
“I do, and we are working through them in real time and I have our regional interest in high profile,” Mr. Barrack wrote back, according to the indictment.
Mr. Barrack’s real estate and private equity firm, Colony Capital, profited from substantial investments from the Emirates and Saudi Arabia, countries that are closely aligned. In the three years after Mr. Trump became the Republican Party’s nominee for president in July 2016, Colony Capital received about $1.5 billion from those two Persian Gulf countries through investments or other transactions. Of that, about $474 million came from sovereign wealth funds controlled by their governments.
Mr. Barrack stepped down as Colony Capital’s executive chairman in March. The firm was recently renamed DigitalBridge. According to a filing this month with Securities and Exchange Commission, Mr. Barrack owns 10 percent of that firm and is one of its directors.
Mr. Barrack has been friends with Mr. Trump since the 1980s. He helped raise money for Mr. Trump’s first presidential campaign and ran his transition team after Mr. Trump won. He was perhaps best known for leading Mr. Trump’s inaugural committee, which raised $107 million — the most money ever collected and spent to celebrate an inauguration.