This week’s arrest of Tom Barrack, a real estate investor who chaired former President Donald Trump’s 2017 presidential inaugural fund, isn’t his first dust-up over foreign influence operations.
Barrack was arrested Tuesday on charges he secretly acted in the U.S. as an agent for the United Arab Emirates. The arrest follows multiple incidents where Barrack’s close proximity to Trump came under scrutiny for its potential to facilitate foreign interference.
Prosecutors claim Barrack and two of his associates engaged in illegal efforts to further the interests of the UAE in the U.S. at the direction of UAE government officials by attempting to influence policy positions of Trump’s 2016 campaign and administration.
Matthew Grimes, who worked at the Barrack-founded private equity firm Colony Capital, was charged along with Barrack. Colony worked closely with sovereign wealth funds in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, raising at least $1.5 billion in capital funds from the UAE and Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth funds after Trump won the 2016 Republican nomination. Barrack’s firm also brought in money from the Abraaj Group, a controversial private equity firm in the UAE that collapsed and was fined a record $314.6 million for misconduct in 2019.
The only Emirati charged in the indictment is businessman Rashid Sultan Rashid Al Malik Alshahhi, also known as Rashid Al-Malik, who prosecutors say…