In May, former US Ambassador to Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates Richard Olson pleaded guilty to violating lobbying laws. He had received monthly payments of $20,000 from a Pakistani American businessman and “political fixer,” Imaad Zuberi, within one year of leaving his post. Zuberi was operating on behalf of Qatar and paid Olson to lobby for the Gulf state’s interests in a 2017 dispute with its neighbors.
The courts sentenced Zuberi to 12 years in prison and ordered him to pay $16 million in restitution and $2 million in fines for illegally sending millions of dollars from foreign sources to whichever political campaigns they believed would benefit them. In addition to Qatar, Zuberi’s clients included “the governments of Libya, Sri Lanka, Bahrain, Turkey, and a Ukrainian oligarch close to Vladimir Putin,” according to the Daily Mail.
The considerable power that foreign agents with such connections can easily exert is troubling, and connections between these agents and elected officials warrant deeper investigation. …
This originally originally was published by Providence Magazine. Please click here to continue reading it.