Published: Mon, September 03, 2018
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

New Charges In Russia Investigation Target Lobbyist For Ukraine Political Group

New Charges In Russia Investigation Target Lobbyist For Ukraine Political Group

USA prosecutors on Friday charged a business associate of Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian-Ukrainian political consultant indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, with failing to register as a foreign agent for lobbying on behalf of a Ukranian political party.

The court filing also detailed Patten's alleged work with another person, identified only as Foreigner B. Patten helped the person draft op-ed articles and get them published in US media in February 2017.

The charges are spelled out in a criminal information, which often precedes a guilty plea.

Mr. Patten's work for the Opposition Bloc was done in conjunction with Konstantin V. Kilimnik, a Russian national who served as Mr. Manafort's longtime deputy on the ground in Kiev.

Patten's plea agreement, which includes cooperating with Mueller, raises the prospect Patten will be called to testify against Manafort, who was found guilty by a Virginia jury last week on bank and tax fraud charges and faces a second trial in Washington next month.

The charge stems from his work lobbying on behalf of a political party in Ukraine known as the Opposition Bloc, and the Ukrainian oligarch between 2014 and 2018.

Patten, 47, was charged with violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (Fara) by failing to register with the United States government as an agent for a foreign country.

The funds were allegedly paid via an offshore account in Cyprus from a "prominent Ukraine oligarch" who is an Opposition Bloc member.

Patten and his Kilimnik even asked their client's permission to register as foreign agents.

W. Samuel Patten appeared in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia where he entered a guilty plea to one count of failing to register as a foreign agent.

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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 was released on his own recognizance Friday without a sentencing date.

Court papers say Patten orchestrated a $50,000 payment to the inauguration committee through a third party to circumvent restrictions on foreign donations to the inaugural committee - a so-called "straw purchase".

Berman Jackson is also scheduled to preside over Manafort's trial in September. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, but both sides agreed there is no recommended sentence under federal guidelines.

Kilimnik and Manafort were indicted in June on charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice. The Presidential Inauguration Committee does not accept money from foreign nationals, but allows foreigners to attend the inauguration so long as they do not pay for the tickets.

So Patten brings together a lot of threads.

Intriguingly, Patten is also tied to the controversial political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.

Patten praised Kilimnik at the time as a person who helped Manafort navigate the complicated Ukrainian political scene.

According to Liu's documents, Patten violated FARA by contacting members of Congress and the executive branch, as well as the media.

The special counsel, Robert Mueller, has pursued other investigations into lawyers and lobbyists who did work in Ukraine.

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