WASHINGTON (AP) — A prolific political fundraiser who donated large sums to President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee has agreed to plead guilty to multiple federal charges, including tax evasion and concealing his work as a foreign agent as he lobbied high-level U.S. government officials, the Justice Department said Tuesday.
The allegations against Imaad Zuberi don’t involve his Trump ties but are centered instead on millions of dollars in contributions he made during the Obama administration, when officials say he used his contributions to obtain access to government officials and persuade them to change American policy in ways favorable to his clients.
A globe-trotting venture capitalist with extensive ties to foreign officials, Zuberi raised millions of dollars for Democrats but shifted his allegiance to Trump within hours of his 2016 election, eventually donating $900,000 to the president’s inaugural. Before pivoting to Trump on election night, he served as a bundler for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, including stints on both of their campaign finance committees.
Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles say Zuberi, 49, has agreed to plead guilty to three counts with a maximum 15-year prison sentence. He is due in court on Oct. 30.
Zuberi did not immediately return messages from The Associated Press seeking comment.
Court documents allege Zuberi over the years solicited money from foreign nationals and representatives of foreign governments by saying that he could use his influence to change foreign policy and create business opportunities for clients and himself.
Though his efforts “generated marginal results,” some government officials were willing to adopt the positions for which he advocated, prosecutors said.
Records reviewed by the AP show Zuberi had been on the radar of federal authorities in New York for months and was even singled out in a subpoena sent to Trump’s inaugural committee seeking an array of records. That inquiry appears to be focused in part on whether any foreign nationals helped fund the $107 million celebration.
But the conduct alleged in the Los Angeles case occurred in the years before Trump was elected.
Associated Press writers Michael Balsamo in Washington, Jim Mustian in New York and Alan Suderman in Richmond, Va., contributed to this report.