Trump ally Thomas Barrack allowed to remain free in US ahead of UAE lobbying trial

Barrack (above) has been charged with illegally lobbying the Trump administration on behalf of the UAE. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - A judge in Los Angeles on Friday (July 23) signed off on a deal that allows former US president Donald Trump's billionaire ally Thomas Barrack to be released from custody while he awaits trial on charges of illegal lobbying on behalf of the United Arab Emirates.

Under the agreement approved by US Magistrate Judge Patricia Donahue, Barrack will wear an ankle bracelet that tracks his location, surrender his passport and submit to a curfew.

The agreement, reached with prosecutors, also calls for Barrack to put up a US$250 million (S$340 million) bond, secured by US$5 million in cash.

The deal spares Barrack, who was arrested in Los Angeles on Tuesday, from being transferred in government custody to Brooklyn, where the case against him was filed.

An attorney for Barrack, Matt Herrington, said during the court hearing that lawyers worked intensely on the bail package so that the businessman would not remain in jail over the weekend.

"We have moved great mountains to ensure that Mr Barrack is able to get out before the weekend," Herrington said.

Barrack, who chaired Trump's inaugural fund and was a frequent guest at the White House, was charged with illegally lobbying the Trump administration on behalf of the UAE.

A spokesman for Barrack said he will plead not guilty.

Barrack, 74, is a longtime Trump ally and founder of the digital infrastructure-focused private equity firm DigitalBridge Group, which was known as Colony Capital before a rebranding announced in June.

A seven-count indictment filed by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn accused Barrack, a former employee and an Emirati businessman of failing to register as lobbyists and using their influence to advance the UAE's foreign policy goals in the United States.

Barrack also was accused of repeatedly lying during an FBI interview about his dealings with the UAE.

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