- Author: David D. Kirkpatrick and Kenneth P. Vogel
- Organization/Publisher: The New York Times
- Date/Place: December 5, 2019, U.S.
- Word Count: 1437
- Type of Literature: Analysis
- Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/05/us/politics/indictment-uae-influence.html
- Keywords: Foreign Influence Industry, Political Donations, Unregistered Foreign Agents
An Indictment filed in the U.S. exposed the UAE’s attempt to buy political influence during the 2016 U.S. elections. It represented a rare case in which a head of state is personally linked to allegations of evading campaign finance laws, which is a federal crime in the U.S. Mohammed bin Zayed “M.B.Z” (UAE’s crown prince) has been one of the biggest spenders in the U.S. to gain political influence. Ben Freeman, the director of the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative, remarked that the UAE has been exceptionally good at the foreign influence industry, to the point of breaking many campaign finance laws. Two key figures that were indicted, George Nader and Ahmed Khawaja, are crucial. The former was an emissary of M.B.Z, and had been in contact with the Trump campaign. The other, Khawaja, who was Nader’s partner and had never given any political donations in the past until he met Nader, has become the conduit of several million dollars to the Trump campaign as well as to other democratic candidates by funneling UAE funds. The Indictment quotes exchanged texts between them, reassuring the delivery of large sums of donations. Nader was working with both Trump and Hillary’s teams while informing M.B.Z of the “constructive relationship” in progress. But After Trump’s elections, both Khawaja and Nader shifted all funds to Trump including a $1 million donation for Trump’s inauguration committee. An investigation by federal prosecutors is now underway probing several other operatives that might be charged as unregistered foreign agents for the Emirates.