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Trump ally Tom Barrack posts $250m bail on charge of illegally boosting UAE

·2-min read
<span>Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP</span>
Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP

Tom Barrack, a longtime ally of Donald Trump who chaired the former president’s inaugural committee, posted $250m bail with a $5m cash security and was released from custody in California on Friday.

Related: ‘It’s chilling what is happening’: a rightwing backlash to Biden takes root in Republican states

Barrack was arrested for conspiring to illegally exert influence over US foreign policy on behalf of the United Arab Emirates. According to the US Department of Justice, Barrack, one of three men accused, failed to register as a foreign agent.

Barrack, a billionaire, has long been close to Trump. In his book Fire and Fury, the journalist Michael Wolff characterised the two men and the financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was later convicted of sex trafficking before killing himself in custody, as a “set of nightlife musketeers” in the 1980s and 1990s.

Barrack also faces a charge of obstructing justice and making false statements to the FBI about making decisions that favored the UAE.

Barrack and Matthew Grimes, 27, will be arraigned in a federal court in Brooklyn, New York, on Monday. A spokesman for Barrack said he would plead not guilty. Barrack was ordered to wear an ankle monitor and prevented from transferring money overseas.

The third man charged, Rashid Sultan Rashid Al Malik Alshahhi, 43, has left the US.

Barrack is a dual citizen of the US and Lebanon whom prosecutors flagged as a flight risk due to his close ties to the two Middle Eastern countries, which have no extradition arrangements with the US, and his possession of a private plane.

Barrack stepped down from his investment company, Colony Capital, last April. In Washington, the Trump inauguration he chaired is the subject of a civil investigation over possible misuse of funds.

Speculation continues about whether figures close to Trump in legal jeopardy – and now unable to hope for a pardon – might be tempted to turn on the former president.

Prosecutors in New York have brought taxation-related charges against the Trump Organization and Allen Weisselberg, formerly its chief financial officer. Both pleaded not guilty.

Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, is being investigated over his work as an unregistered foreign agent and ties to controversial Ukrainian agents.

In May, federal agents raided Giuliani’s New York apartment. The former mayor of New York has also lost his licences to practise law in New York and Washington DC.

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