Manafort associate charged with acting as foreign agent

by Abel Hampton September 3, 2018, 1:09
Manafort associate charged with acting as foreign agent

A business associate of a key figure in the investigation into former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleaded guilty Friday to failing to register as a foreign agent for a Ukrainian political party.

In the early to mid-2000s, Patten worked in Moscow for another pro-democracy organization, the International Republican Institute, along with Konstantin Kilimnik, who has been charged by Mueller's office with obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

According to the complaint filed in federal court, Patten worked on behalf of the Ukrainian political party Opposition Bloc between 2014 and 2018, without disclosing the work to the US government as required under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. In addition to inserting op-ed articles into US media organizations, Patten and his company set up meetings with his foreign clients and USA government officials, including senators on the Foreign Relations Committee, representatives on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and officials from the State Department. He faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Neither Patten nor Kilimnik immediately responded to requests for comment on Friday's federal filing.

Patten was charged by way of a criminal information, a document that can only be filed with a defendant's consent and that typically signals a guilty plea is planned.

Patten helped Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko get re-elected in "one of the toughest anti-government atmospheres in that country's history", according to an archived page from Patten's website detailing his accomplishments in Ukraine.

W. Samuel Patten entered his plea in federal court in Washington, copping to disclosure crimes as prosecutors laid out his business connections to Manafort, the Ukrainian, and an American with ties to Russian intelligence.

Patten confirmed his involvement with Cambridge Analytica to The Daily Beast, saying he assisted the firm's U.S. projects in 2014 and also "several overseas campaigns".

Mr. Kilimnik is not named in Friday's charging papers against Mr. Patten, but is identified as "Foreigner A", a Russian national who formed a company in the United States with Mr. Patten.

He worked closely with the late opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, whose center-right party, the Union of Right Forces, pushed for free market and democratic reforms. The individual paid $50,000 for the tickets, after receiving the same sum from a company controlled by Patten and an unnamed Russian national.

Prosecutors have said in separate court filings that Kilimnik has ties to Russian intelligence.

At Manafort's Virginia trial, his former protege Rick Gates testified that Lyovochkin paid Manafort's consulting firm millions of dollars for political work, including for the Party of Regions, the predecessor of the Opposition Bloc.

Prosecutors say in 2015 Patten worked to set up meetings between the Ukrainian businessman and several US officials including members of Congress and leaders in the State Department. The company performed political consulting services and advised a prominent Ukrainian oligarch, labeled "Foreigner B", among others.

Michael Zeldin, a former federal prosecutor, predicted Patten will be a witness in the trial. He was the first campaign associate of President Trump to be found guilty by a jury as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling and potential collusion with Trump campaign associates in the 2016 presidential election.


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