Manafort ally agrees to cooperate with USA after guilty plea

Manafort ally agrees to cooperate with USA after guilty plea

A former Paul Manafort associate who pleaded guilty to a lobbying crime admitted that he helped foreign donors give money to President Donald Trump's Inaugural Committee.

Patten was scheduled to appear before a federal judge on Friday morning for an arraignment.

Along with being an associate of Manafort's and an employee at the OR office of Cambridge Analytica's parent company, Patten was also an old friend and regular business associate of Konstantin Kilimnik, a man suspected of having ties to Russian intelligence.

Although the charges were not brought by Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, they stem from his team's work, and overlap substantially with its continuing investigation, suggesting Patten could be a useful witness.

Forced into the opposition, the oligarchs formed a political party called Opposition Bloc, which worked with Manafort and Gates in 2014, before largely shifting its political consulting and lobbying business to a company started by Patten and Konstantin V. Kilimnik. The document said he did not register as a foreign agent with the State Department under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) while doing his political consulting work.

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.

The complaint says that Patten worked with a person identified only as Foreigner A as part of the lobbying and political consulting business.

Special counsel Robert Mueller referred the case to prosecutors in Washington, DC.

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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".

Under the 10-page plea agreement requiring cooperation with the government, Patten no longer faces potential charges for making false statements or obstructing the Senate Intelligence Committee, or for causing foreign money to contribute to Trump's 2016-2017 inauguration committee.

Manafort's name was not mentioned once during Friday's hearing.

In court, Patten conveyed the air of a solemn man aware of what he had done. The unidentified oligarch was one of their biggest benefactors, the charging documents said. Beginning in about 2015, the company received about $1 million for its work advising the Opposition Bloc and members of that party, including a prominent Ukraine oligarch, identified only as "Foreigner B". The charge carries a maximum prison sentence of five years in prison.

Patten was released on his own recognizance Friday without a sentencing date.

According to Liu's documents, Patten violated FARA by contacting members of Congress and the executive branch, as well as the media.

The charge was brought by the US attorney's office in the capital.

In a 2017 interview with an academic researching SCL Group, Patten reflected on his experience in global political consulting and said, "I've worked in Ukraine, Iraq".

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