USA charges associate of indicted Russian with lobbying violation

Aaron Brown
September 3, 2018

According to media reports, Patten has business ties to Konstantin Kilimnik, who was indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller earlier this year alongside former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Patten appeared before U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who will oversee Manafort's upcoming trial.

The charges are spelled out in a criminal information, which often precedes a guilty plea. Manafort was also convicted this month on bank- and tax-fraud charges in Virginia. Kilimnik worked closely with Manafort and is a co-defendant in the pending case that accuses them both of witness tampering.

They say that staring in 2015, Patten and a Russian national lobbied and provided political consulting for the Opposition Bloc and its members, including an unnamed prominent Ukrainian oligarch.

As part of his lobbying work, he violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act, the USA said.

Prosecutors describe Foreigner A as a "Russian national" who partnered with Patten to create a political consulting company, "Company A", split 50-50.

As CNN producer David Gelles noted, Patten was charged for acting as an unregistered foreign agent for Russian Federation and Ukraine between 2014 and 2017.

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Sam Patten is accused of "willfully" acting as an agent for the Ukrainian political party Opposition Bloc between 2014 and this year, according to a filing to federal court in Washington DC on Friday, according to The Guardian.

The case against Patten was referred to the United States attorney's office in DC by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, whose team has been investigating potential coordination between Moscow and the Trump campaign. Patten did not speak to reporters at the court, but apologized to family and friends on Facebook after entering his plea. The charge is a felony that is punishable by a statutory maximum of up to five years in prison, and potential financial penalties.

Patten also said he lied to the Senate Intelligence Committee about his foreign dealings.

According to Justice Department officials, Patten worked with "a foreigner to place op-ed articles" in a USA news outlets in 2017. Patten also drafted an op-ed for Foreigner B that sought to address concerns about Ukraine's ability to work with the Trump administration.

Kilimnik and Manafort, meanwhile, have been indicted on allegations tied to their own work in Ukraine.

Patten was released on his own recognizance but can not travel outside the D.C. area without notifying the court. And he worked in Kazakhstan, where he consulted for multinational companies like Coca-Cola and Texaco and reopened the country office for the International Republican Institute, a nongovernmental civil society group that promotes democracy and elections. Also in attendance was Scott Claffee, a trial lawyer in the Justice Department's National Security Division.

Even though Trump and his legal team have indicated that they would wait until after special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation wraps up, the pardoning of Paul Manafort reportedly is, and will continue to be on the table.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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