PETALING JAYA: A consultant has been charged with violating US law on lobbying as part of an attempt to get the Trump administration to drop an investigation into state investment fund 1MDB, AP reports.
According to the report, Nickie Lum Davis was accused of working with a politically connected fundraiser with close ties to President Donald Trump to get the Department of Justice (DoJ) to drop forfeiture allegations against fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low.
While prosecutors did not identify the fundraiser, the report said his description in a court document matched that of Elliott Broidy, the former vice-chair of Trump’s inaugural committee.
The report referred to prosecutors who said Jho Low offered a US$8 million retainer fee for the illicit lobbying, with an additional US$75 million if the matter could be resolved within 75 days.
They also said the fundraiser had suggested at a meeting in Bangkok in May that the money should be “clean”, following which Jho Low identified a friend who could handle the payments.
Davis was charged in the Honolulu Federal Court last Monday with violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act or FARA, which requires most consultants who lobby or assist with public relations in the US for foreign individuals, companies, governments and political parties to reveal detailed information about their work and payments for it.
FARA is intended to prevent foreign actors from surreptitiously influencing US politics and public policy.
Prosecutors said Davis did not disclose to the federal government that the lobbying effort was done on behalf of Jho Low.
She was also said to be involved in a bid to arrange for the removal of a Chinese dissident living in the US on a temporary visa.
Jho Low was charged by the US in 2018 in relation to allegations of money laundering.
Last year, the DoJ reached a civil settlement to recover more than US$700 million in assets traceable to the funds in question.
Jho Low has consistently maintained his innocence.