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Trump fundraiser Elliott Broidy accused of illegal lobbying campaign

WASHINGTON – Elliott Broidy, a major fundraiser for President Donald Trump and the Republican Party, has been accused of an illicit lobbying campaign aimed at convincing the Trump administration to abandon an investigation into the multibillion dollar looting of a state investment fund Malaysian.

Broidy is the latest person accused by the Justice Department of participating in the covert lobbying effort, which also sought to organize the return of a Chinese dissident living in the U.S. A consultant, Nickie Lum Davis, pleaded guilty in August for his role in the scheme.

The case was filed this week in federal court in Washington, DC, with Broidy facing a single conspiracy charge related to her failure to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which requires people lobbying in the United States to account of a foreign entity to disclose him working at the Department of Justice.

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7;s attorney declined to comment on Thursday. The allegations are contained in a statement of charge known as information, which typically signals a defendant’s intention to plead guilty.

Prosecutors say Broidy worked with Davis and others to persuade the Justice Department to abandon its search for billions of dollars that officials say was stolen from 1MDB, a Malaysian wealth fund that has been established over a decade. it does to speed up the country’s economic development, but which prosecutors say it was actually treated like a piggy bank by the associates of former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

As part of the program, prosecutors said, Broidy “facilitated and attempted to facilitate meetings and other efforts to influence officials at the highest level of the US government, including the president and attorney general.” During a May 2017 meeting in a Bangkok hotel suite, he agreed to put pressure on the Trump administration and Attorney General, later Jeff Sessions, for an $ 8 million fee, according to prosecutors.

The effort was made on behalf of a fugitive Malaysian financier, Jho Low, but was ultimately unsuccessful: the Department of Justice in 2018 accused Low, who remains a fugitive, in connection with the plot to launder billions of dollars from the fund and last year he reached a civilian settlement to recover more than $ 700 million in assets that officials said was attributable to the plundered fund.

Low denied the misconduct and did not admit guilt in that deal. And Broidy didn’t register with the US government that he was working on Low’s behalf.

Broidy was one of Trump’s top fundraisers, but in 2018 he stepped down from his role as Vice President of the Republican National Committee after it was revealed he had paid $ 1.6 million to a Playboy Playmate with whom he had a extramarital affair.

According to prosecutors, Broidy used her access to the White House to try to arrange a golf match between Trump and the Malaysian Prime Minister, and although that outing did not take place, the leaders met at the White House in September 2017. Broidy himself met Trump in the White House the following month and, although he did not raise the 1MDB issue with him, he told Davis he did, court documents say.

Broidy’s work also included a separate and unsuccessful lobbying effort – trying to organize the removal of a Chinese dissident living in the United States on a temporary visa. The dissident is not listed by name by prosecutors, but matches Guo Wengui’s description.

Guo left China in 2014 during an anti-corruption crackdown led by President Xi Jinping that trapped people close to Guo, including a senior intelligence official. Chinese authorities accused Guo of rape, kidnapping, corruption and other crimes and demanded the return of the self-exiled tycoon.

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