Two Lebanese-American businessmen have been indicted for their role in a scheme to funnel $3.5 million in illegal campaign contributions to political campaigns in 2016.
George Nader, who was a key witness in the investigation by Robert Mueller of collusion by the Trump campaign with Russia in 2016, and Ahmad “Andy” Khawaja, CEO of online payment processing company Allied Wallet, were indicted for conspiring to conceal a $3.5 million contribution from Nader by making them in the name of Khawaja, his wife and his company, Allied Wallet Inc.
Although the 53-count indictment does not specify the 2016 candidate involved, campaign finance records indicate it was Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Nader is already in custody, charged with possessing child pornography and traveling with a minor for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity. He was convicted in 1991 of a child pornography charge.
Khawaja also allegedly donated $1.8 million to various political committees, allowing him to host several fundraisers in 2016.
“By design, these contributions appeared to be in the names of Khawaja, his wife, and his company. In reality, they allegedly were funded by Nader,” Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and FBI Washington Field Office chief Timothy Slater
announced in a statement.
“Khawaja and Nader allegedly made these contributions in an effort to gain influence with high-level political figures, including the candidate. As Khawaja and Nader arranged these payments, Nader allegedly reported to an official from a foreign government about his efforts to gain influence,” they continued.
According to the indictment, after the election Khawaja used his company to steer $1 million to Trump’s inaugural committee and attended Trump’s inauguration with Nader.
Khawaja was very generous to Democrats in 2016 as were some of his associates.
The other charges in the indictment allege Khawaja and six associates — Roy Boulos, Rudy Dekermenjian, Mohammad “Moe” Diab, Rani El-Saadi, Stevan Hill, and Thayne Whipple — conspired to conceal executive contributions, totaling more than $1.8 million, to various political committees in 2016 through 2018. “Among other things, these contributions allegedly allowed Khawaja to host a private fundraiser for a presidential candidate in 2016 and a private fundraising dinner for an elected official in 2018,” Benczkowski and Slater said.
Khawaja is also charged with obstructing the grand jury investigation in the summer by providing a witness called to testify in the case with false information about Nader and his connection to Khawaja’s company, while four of his associates are charged with obstruction by lying to the FBI.
As for Nader, he rated more than 100 mentions in Robert Mueller’s final report, most regarding possible UAE efforts to influence members of Trump’s campaign. Nader’s lobbying on behalf of the UAE crown prince involved setting up meetings with Trump campaign officials, including setting up a January 2017 meeting in the Seychelles “between Trump associate and Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a Russian official with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.”
While the two businessmen were helping Hillary, they also were interested in the Trump campaign and the early days of the Trump presidency. Nader appears to have been something of a political fixer. He was a business associate of Elliott Broidy, a top Republican fundraiser and deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee, who resigned after it was revealed former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen arranged to pay off a Playboy model Broidy had impregnated.