Russia Probe: Manafort Associate Sam Patten Charged With Illegal Lobbying

Kilimnik is also a close business associate of President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who also did political work in Ukraine and has been found guilty on eight counts of financial crimes.

In his plea agreement, Patten said he arranged for a USA citizen to act as a "straw" buyer to purchase four inauguration tickets for $50,000 for a Ukrainian client.

The documents filed along with Patten's plea lay out years of work he performed for a wealthy Ukrainian businessman and a Ukrainian political party known as the Opposition Bloc beginning in 2014.

Mr. Patten's work for the Opposition Bloc was done in conjunction with Konstantin V. Kilimnik, a Russian national who served as Mr. Manafort's longtime deputy on the ground in Kiev.

In court documents, federal prosecutors said Patten's company received more than $1 million for his work for Opposition Bloc members and for other Ukrainian consulting, starting in 2015, with payments made through Cypriot bank accounts. Patten's company was involved in lobbying work in the United States and Ukraine, prosecutors said, adding that he failed to register as a foreign agent with the Justice Department as required by law.

The criminal charging document does not name Manafort or any of his colleagues in the United States and Ukraine, though Patten may be connected to those efforts.

Prosecutors said this violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Samuel Patten, a self-described global political consultant, was accused of acting "as an agent of a foreign principal, to wit, the Opposition Bloc (a Ukrainian political party) and its members, without registering" as a foreign lobbyist, according to court documents filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington, DC.

The charges against Patten come after Ryan Dickey and Brian Richardson, a pair of "relatively junior" special counsel prosecutors, have left Mueller's team.

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Patten's attorneys and government prosecutor's will have until October 31 to file a joint status report.

According to the filing, Patten also drafted op-ed articles for the oligarch and succeeded in having at least one published by a national American media outlet in February 2017.

Patten was informed in writing of the ban, court papers say.

That alarmed allies of Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine's president, who is generally regarded as more pro-Western, and it emboldened his pro-Russian opponents, who had held power from 2010 to 2014 partly through the efforts of Manafort and his former right-hand man, Rick Gates.

Samuel Patten, 47, also agreed to cooperate with Mueller's probe.

Patten stood with his attorney, Stuart A. Sears, and after surrendering his passport and was released on his own recognizance pending sentencing.

The charging document does not state whether Patten succeeded in setting up the meetings.

But with Manafort's prosecution, the Justice Department has been more closely scrutinizing such work. Prosecutions of the offense are rare, but in recent years the Justice Department's national security division has taken a tougher stance on enforcement of the law.

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  • Sonia Alvarado