Russia Probe: Manafort Associate Sam Patten Charged With Illegal Lobbying

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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.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson told Patten that she couldn't provide any estimate of his potential sentence because U.S. sentencing guidelines don't have a section for violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

The details of Foreigner A's activities match up with those of Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian-Ukrainian dual citizen whom Mueller has alleged has ties to Russian intelligence agencies.

Last month, Manafort was found guilty of five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of failing to disclose his foreign bank accounts. According to the charging document, both men repeatedly attempted to tamper with witness testimony in Mueller's Russian Federation probe related to Manafort's political consulting work.

According to the indictment, Patten received $1 million for lobbying work for a Ukrainian opposition party, without properly registering as a foreign lobbyist.

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

Prosecutors allege in criminal information unveiled on Friday that Patten did not register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act even though he was doing work for a Ukrainian political party called the Opposition Bloc.

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.

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Watching from the gallery was Andrew Weissmann, an expert on money laundering and complex fraud cases who will be the lead prosecutor in Manafort's trial in Washington.

Patten was informed in writing of the ban, court papers say. He was released on his own recognizance Friday without a sentencing date.

Foreigner B, Kilimnik and Patten's client, is a "prominent Ukraine oligarch".

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.

Patten formed a consulting firm in 2015 with Kilimnik, whom Mueller indicted in June. The Atlantic reported in April that Patten has known Kilimnik since at least 2001, when they worked together at the International Republican Institute in Moscow.

Patten also carried out work for Cambridge Analytica, the now-defunct consultancy that is under scrutiny for its work on Trump's 2016 election campaign. Also in attendance was Scott Claffee, a trial lawyer in the Justice Department's National Security Division.

Working alongside an unnamed Russian national, Patten set up meetings with members of Congress and their staff, as well as the executive branch, in 2015, according to the document. The special counsel office believes Kilimnik has strong ties with Russian intelligence officials.

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