WASHINGTON – WASHINGTON – An American lobbyist who worked with Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs pleaded guilty on Friday to fail to register as an agent of a foreign power President Trump's inauguration.
Prosecutors disclosed that the inauguration tickets were worth $ 50,000 and were purchased with a Cypriot bank account. Prosecutors did not name the foreigners involved. Konstantin V. Kilimnik, a Russian political operative believed to have a Russian intelligence agency, and a Ukranian oligarch.
The lobbyist, Sam Patten, also agreed to cooperate with prosecutors as part of his plea agreement. Mr. Trump, his associates and Russia.
Foreigners are not allowed to contribute to any of the presidential inaugurations. According to federal documents, Mr. Patten misled the Intelligence Committee several times and intentionally withheld documents.
Details disclosed in the plea agreement were the latest reminder of the far-reaching Robert S. Mueller III, into Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Mr. Trump has called the special counseling a "witch hunt" and "rigged." And all of Mr. Trump have complained that Mr. Mueller's mandates – to investigate Russia's election interference as well as any crimes that are unearthed in the process – is too broad. In January, Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump's former campaign chairman, unsuccessfully sued the special counsel, seeking the court to narrow Mr. Mueller's scope.
Mr. Patten has worked in the same world as Mr. Manafort.
As recently as this year, Mr. Patten worked as a foreign agent for the opposition Bloc, a pro-Russia Ukrainian political party, according to a court document filed on Friday. Mr. Manafort worked for the Opposition Bloc in 2014.
Mr. Manafort has been charged with failing to register as a foreign agent for his work on behalf of pro-Russia Ukrainian interests, including the Opposition Bloc.
For decades, prosecutors have filed charges for violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA. But that changed, even before the appointment of the Special Counsel, as the Justice Department worked to counterintelligence threats from foreign adversaries.
Mr. Mueller has been pursuing other investigations into lawyers and lobbyists who are working in Ukraine, and he has been handed some of those cases off to federal prosecutors in other jurisdictions. Mr Patten entered his guilty plea.
Mr. Patten's lawyer declined to comment after Friday's hearing. Mr. Patten faces up to five years in prison and a fine of $ 250,000. He was released after the hearing.
Mr. Patten's work for the Opposition Bloc was done in connection with Mr. Kilimnik, who served as Mr. Manafort's longtime deputy on the ground in Kiev. Mr. Mueller and his team have accused Mr. Kilimnik of having ties to Russian intelligence. Mr. Kilimnik was indicted in June on charges of obstruction of justice related to witnessing in the foreign lobbying case against Mr. Manafort.
Mr. Kilimnik was not named in Friday's charging papers, but is identified as "Foreigner A," as described in the United States with Mr. Patten. That company, identified as "Company A" in the court document, is Begemot Ventures International, a company created by the two men in February 2015, according to corporate records filed in Washington.
According to the charging document, "Company A" was paid more than $ 1 million through an offshore Cypriot bank account to advise the opposition Bloc and its members, including a "prominent Ukraine oligarch," who is not named. Mr. Patten in an effort to "influence United States policy," which should have been a FARA registration, prosecutors said.
Patten has been working on Republican politics for years, and he came to specialize in representational foreign affairs and political campaigns, particularly in former Soviet states. On his website, he himself is an international consultant.
Mr. Patten thus had a yearlong business relationship with Cambridge Analytica, the political data firm that worked on Mr. Trump's 2016 campaign. Starting in 2014, Mr. Patten is a consultant for election campaigns and other projects in Africa, Europe and the United States, according to a person with direct knowledge of his activities. During the same year, Cambridge Analytica researched the business in Russia.
Cambridge Analytica closed down in May after it had improperly harvested personal data from millions of Facebook users without their permission. Mr. Mueller's inquiry.
In 2014, the same year Mr. Patten worked as a consultant for Cambridge Analytica, so he worked for one of the candidates running for mayor of Kiev. Later, he and Mr. Kilimnik shifted their attention to the opposition Bloc, which emerged from the administration of President Viktor F. Yanukovych, who fled Ukraine in February 2014 amid mass street protests of his government's corruption and pivot toward Moscow.  Though Mr. Patten and Mr. Manafort both worked on behalf of the opposition Bloc, their family connection was not close, and their primary connection was through Mr. Kilimnik.
Nicholas Confessore contributed reporting.