US Charges Associate of Indicted Russian With Lobbying Violation

by Garry Watts September 3, 2018, 4:16
US Charges Associate of Indicted Russian With Lobbying Violation

A lobbyist who partnered with one of Paul Manafort's key business associates has pleaded guilty to failing to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act related to his political consulting work on behalf of a Ukrainian national.

The Russian national is referred to only as "Foreigner A", but he is believed to be Konstantin Kilimnik, who worked closely with Paul Manafort for years in Ukraine.

From 2014, Patten provided a "prominent" Ukrainian oligarch, who isn't named in court papers, and his Opposition Bloc political party with lobbying and consulting services, according to the criminal information.

As part of his lobbying work, Patten violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act by not disclosing the work to the USA, prosecutors said.

Patten admitted to working with a Russian national to lobby members of Congress and the executive branch on behalf of the pro-Russian Opposition Bloc between 2014 and 2018 without disclosing the work to the USA government as required by law.

Prosecutors said this violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Samuel Patten, 47, pleaded guilty in a federal court in Washington to violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) by lobbying for the Ukrainian Opposition Bloc between 2014 and 2018 without disclosing the work to the US government.

The case against Patten was referred by special counsel Robert Mueller, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney Office confirmed to ABC News.

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Later, Patten wrote talking points and letters used to lobby USA officials on the behalf of the businessman, who is referred to as "Foreigner B".

As Berman Jackson asked him several questions about his willfulness to plead guilty and the rights he will waive, Patten answered her slowly and clearly each time: "Yes, your honor", "I understand, your honor", "I do, your honor".

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. Yet, to hide that Foreigner B was paying for the tickets, court papers say Patten had the American front the $50,000 for the tickets.

The topic came up a year later in January 2018 when Patten testified before the Senate intelligence committee as part of its investigation into Russian election interference and possible coordination with Trump associates.

Despite his lobbying work for the pro-Russian opposition bloc, Patten's website states that he previously worked with Russian opposition leader and Putin critic Boris Nemtsov, who was murdered in 2015 two days before a planned demonstration.

Patten then worked to find an American citizen to purchase the tickets for $50,000 in total, as a way to circumvent USA law, which widely prohibits foreigners from contributing to political activities. He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the felony charge and has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

Patten surrendered his passport and was released on his own recognizance pending sentencing.

The charges against Patten were filed by the USA attorney's office in Washington rather than by Mueller.

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