Middleman Funneled Donation From Saudi to Obama Inauguration: REPORT

Mairead McArdle

A Saudi manufacturing tycoon sent hundreds of thousands of dollars through his business associate to help pay for President Barack Obama’s reelection inauguration.

Sheikh Mohammed Al Rahbani attempted to send $850,000 through his associate Imaad Zuberi, the Associated Press reported. However, Zuberi, a straw donor who has donated to multiple U.S. political campaigns including almost  $1 million to Trump’s inaugural committee, actually only donated $97,500 of that money and pocketed the rest for himself.

Rahbani’s donation is illegal under U.S. law.

Zuberi, a venture capitalist, has fundraised millions of dollars for both Republicans and Democrats, including Obama and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaigns as well as lawmakers who  figure prominently in deciding U.S. foreign policy, such as Senator Lindsey Graham and Democratic House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Eliot Engel.

He has been charged and pled guilty as part of an agreement with prosecutors that he appropriated the majority of the donation to the Obama inaugural committee.

Rahbani has not been charged and has declined to comment on the matter.

Trump’s inaugural committee has not been charged in connection with the case and said it has cooperated with the federal investigation.

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