Tom Barrack was charged in July with acting as an agent for the Middle East nation to lobby then-President Donald Trump, with prosecutors alleging his dealings with the United Arab Emirates went right to the top.
The seven-count indictment against Colony Capital founder Barrack listed five anonymous officials he met with in December 2016, shortly after Donald Trump was elected president. Bloomberg — citing people familiar with the matter — reported Tuesday the officials included de facto leader of the UAE, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE’s national security adviser, Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Ali Mohammed Hammad Al Shamsi, director of the Emirati intelligence service.
During the meeting, prosecutors allege Barrack asked the UAE officials to create a “wish list” of U.S. foreign policy items they wanted from the new administration’s time in the White House.
Barrack played a key role in the United States’ presidential transition as an informal adviser, overseeing the inaugural committee and assisting in the transition team’s hiring search.
The indictment also identified Matthew Grimes, a former Colony employee whom prosecutors alleged reported directly to Barrack and served as his assistant during the mogul’s time in Trump’s administration.
The indictment against Barrack also alleges that he helped arrange a meeting at the White House for UAE officials and pushed preferred candidates for administration posts. Prosecutors allege Barrack himself appeared to be up for either an ambassadorship or special envoy position, though he received neither.
Another key moment involved the UAE’s blockade of Qatar. The Trump administration was considering a meeting with Qatari officials at Camp David, seemingly against the UAE’s wishes. The indictment alleges Barrack sent a message to Trump and the meeting was never held.
None of the UAE officials listed in the indictment have been charged. Barrack has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him and has been freed on $250 million while he awaits trial.
Meanwhile, the company Barrack helped build is almost unrecognizable. During Barrack’s four-year absence, Colony’s portfolio pivoted from hotel, warehouse, office and retail holdings to primarily digital assets. Its headquarters relocated from Los Angeles to Boca Raton and in June, the company rebranded as DigitalBridge.
The company faced another change when Barrack stepped down as CEO in 2020 and left his executive chairman post in April. Amid the indictment in July, he also resigned from his seat on the company’s board.
[Bloomberg] — Holden Walter-Warner