On Friday, The Washington Post reported: The former U.S. ambassador to Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates under President Obama, pleaded guilty Friday to federal charges in connection with a secret lobbying campaign on behalf of Qatar to influence the Trump White House and Congress in 2017.
Richard G. Olson, a 34-year career Foreign Service officer who served as the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan from 2015 until 2016, admitted to lying in ethics paperwork and violating revolving-door laws by lobbying for Qatar within a year of retiring from federal service.
Olson’s defense counsel said he admitted to the misdemeanor charges, each punishable by up to one year in prison at his sentencing Sept. 13. His sentence is also dependent on his implication of a 4 star general who he claims helped him in the crimes.
Retired four-star Marine Gen. John G. Allen. Allen commanded U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring in 2013. He was tapped in late 2017 as president of Washington’s influential Brookings Institution, to which Qatar agreed in 2013 to donate $14.8 million over four years.
Many others have been arrested during this investigation into illegal dealings in the wealthy governments of the middle east. Businessmen Thomas Barrack, Jr and Imaad Zuberi were recently charged with financial crimes in the area.
Olson admitted to many illegal dealings in his plea papers.
Olson acknowledged not disclosing as required in annual ethics forms that he had received a first-class airplane ticket from New Mexico to London and a stay in a luxury hotel in January 2015 worth about $20,000 from a Pakistani American businessman who was not identified by the government but whose description matches that of Zuberi.
Olson admitted meeting with a Bahrain businessman, who would offer him a one-year $300,000 contract for work after he left the State Department.
During a hearing on May 27 and in previous court filings, J. Michael Hannon, Olson’s attorney, pressed federal prosecutors about why Allen has yet to be charged.
“Exculpatory evidence about Allen could mitigate Olson’s sentence or invalidate his plea agreement, Hannon argued, saying a decision not to charge the general could mean prosecutors improperly ‘induced’ a guilty plea from the diplomat who relied on government representations that he might be recommended leniency at sentencing for his cooperation,” noted the paper.
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