US charges associate of indicted Russian with lobbying violation

Robert Mueller Indicts Konstantin Kilimnik and Hits Paul Manafort With Another Charge

Robert Mueller Indicts Konstantin Kilimnik and Hits Paul Manafort With Another Charge

Patten will appear in federal court Friday morning before the same judge who is overseeing Manafort's second trial for similar charges of unregistered foreign lobbying.

The case sketched out by prosecutors encompassed Patten, a respected Republican operative and consultant whose family was once part of Washington's social elite; money transfers from a Cypriot bank; and a Russian national who had also worked for Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager, and been accused of maintaining ties to Russian intelligence.

Manafort, who was sacked as Trump's campaign chairman in August 2016, was convicted by a federal jury in Virginia on tax and bank fraud stemming from his work between 2010 and 2014 for the pro-Russia Ukrainian political party Party of Regions and then-President Viktor Yanukovych.

Court papers say that staring in 2015, Patten and a Russian national lobbied and provided political consulting for the Opposition Bloc and its members, including a prominent Ukrainian oligarch.

As part of his lobbying work, he violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act, the US said.

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.

In a plea agreement made public Friday, prosecutors outlined other crimes that the lobbyist, Sam Patten, admitted to but wouldn't be charged with.

W. Samuel Patten entered his plea in federal court in Washington, copping to disclosure crimes as prosecutors laid out his business connections to Manafort, the Ukrainian, and an American with ties to Russian intelligence.

In court, Patten conveyed the air of a solemn man aware of what he had done.

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

Manafort made most of his money working for former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych before he fled to Russian Federation in 2014, but like Patten also sought to drum up business with the Opposition Bloc in the aftermath of Yanukovych's exit.

Manafort's Washington trial is scheduled to start September 24. Patten also drafted an op-ed for Foreigner B that sought to address concerns about Ukraine's ability to work with the Trump administration. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, but both sides agreed there is no recommended sentence under federal guidelines.

Patten said past year that Kilimnik had been essential to Manafort's Ukraine operation, which had been perceived by allies and opponents alike as the savviest of the American consulting operations working in the country.

In January 2015, Patten and Kilimnik tried to coordinate meetings between his clients and lawmakers on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and House Committee on Foreign Affairs, State Department officials, and multiple members of the US press corps, prosecutors allege.

So Patten brings together a lot of threads. 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.

It's unclear why Mueller referred the case.

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