DC lobbyist charged with failing to register as a foreign agent

Pgiam via Getty Images

Pgiam via Getty Images

According to a court document filed ahead of his 11 a.m. appearance in federal court on Friday, Sam Patten worked with the Opposition Bloc party in Ukraine from 2014 to 2018 but never registered as an agent of a foreign principal, which is required under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Patten was a business associate of Konstantin Kilimnik, a man USA authorities have said has ties to Russian intelligence.

Federal prosecutors on Friday alleged that Samuel Patten, a business associate of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, used a shady foreign bank account to funnel money to President Donald Trump's inauguration committee on behalf of a Kremlin-linked Ukrainian oligarch.

The case was brought by the USA attorney's office in Washington and the Department of Justice's National Security Division, and not by special counsel Robert Mueller, whose team has been investigating potential coordination between Moscow and the Trump campaign. Because it's a pending case, the U.S. Attorney declined to comment further.

Patten's work in Ukraine dovetails somewhat with that of Manafort.

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Berman Jackson is also scheduled to preside over Manafort's trial in September. He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the felony charge and has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

Court documents don't refer to Kilimnik by name, but said Patten worked with a Russian national on lobbying and political consulting services. Kilimnik also is a co-defendant in a pending case against Manafort in Washington, brought by special counsel Robert Mueller's team, that accuses them both of witness tampering.

Patten also said he lied to the Senate Intelligence Committee about his foreign dealings. A company not identified in the document received more than $1 million for work for the Ukrainian opposition bloc, the USA said. The law is aimed at promoting transparency about lobbying efforts in the United States. Prosecutions of the offense are rare, but in recent years the Justice Department's national security division has taken a tougher stance on enforcement of the law.

He has also reportedly worked on micro-targeting operation for Cambridge Analytica, a UK-based data analytics firm that has drawn scrutiny for its involvement in the 2016 election and for harvesting Facebook users' personal information on behalf of political clients.

Patten was released on his own recognizance but can not travel outside the Washington area without notifying the court.

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