Sam Patten, Manafort associate, pleads guilty in case referred by Mueller

03 September, 2018, 04:15 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • Paul Manafort

An associate of Paul Manafort on Friday pleaded guilty to illegally acting as a foreign agent for a pro-Russia Ukrainian political party in the USA - and agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors, according to reports.

In his plea agreement, Patten said he arranged for a USA citizen to act as a "straw" buyer to purchase four inauguration tickets for $50,000 for a Ukrainian client.

Patten is a former associate of Paul Manafort, the former chairman for President Donald Trump's campaign, and Konstantin Kilimnik, a former Russian intelligence officer. 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. Prosecutors allege that Patten knew that he was required to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act but failed to do so.

The court papers charged that Patten, and Foreigner A, set up a company in the United States that was paid more than $1 million to work on behalf of Opposition Bloc.

Samuel Patten, 47, also admitted to soliciting a US citizen to act as a straw purchaser to buy tickets to the inauguration of President Donald Trump for a Ukrainian oligarch, circumventing a law restricting such purchases by foreigners.

The charge, brought by the U.S. Attorney's office, stemmed from information uncovered by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's investigation into possible ties between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

Patten's case was referred by special counsel Robert Mueller, according to an official with the US Attorney's office. The individual paid $50,000 for the tickets, after receiving the same sum from a company controlled by Patten and an unnamed Russian national.

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The charges he pleaded guilty to are failing to register his work as a foreign agent while doing work in Washington for a Ukrainian political party.

Manafort later did consulting work for Opposition Bloc, which was set up by former members of the Party of Regions and their financial backers after Yanukovych fled the country in February 2014 amid mass street protests.

He also worked with an unnamed Russian to place op-ed articles in U.S. media in 2017, the Justice Department says. Patten did not speak to reporters at the court, but apologized to family and friends on Facebook after entering his plea. The straw purchaser, who is not named, then was reimbursed by Patten's company, which in turn received the same amount from Foreigner B via an offshore bank account in Cyprus. Legal experts told Business Insider that the decision to charge Patten with a criminal information indicates that he will likely cooperate with prosecutors.

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

Patten has agreed to cooperate with investigators as part of a plea deal. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

But with Manafort's prosecution, the Justice Department has been more closely scrutinizing such work. He was released on his own recognizance Friday without a sentencing date.

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