Politico

Trump ally Tom Barrack set to be released on $250 million bond


Tom Barrack, a wealthy private-equity investor and Trump 2017 inaugural chair who now faces criminal charges of secretly acting as a foreign agent in the U.S. for the United Arab Emirates, was set to be released on bail Friday after prosecutors and his defense reached an agreement for him to pledge $250 million to secure his future appearance.

The deal spares Barrack — who was arrested Tuesday in the Los Angeles area — from the prospect of spending the weekend in jail and of being transferred in government custody to Brooklyn, N.Y., where the indictment in the case was brought.

An attorney for Barrack, Matt Herrington, said both sides worked intensely on the bail package in order to head off the possibility of Barrack remaining in jail.

“We have moved great mountains to ensure that Mr. Barrack is able to get out before the weekend so he can get to New York and appear for his arraignment on Monday,” Herrington said during a video hearing before L.A.-based U.S. Magistrate Judge Patricia Donahue.

Herrington and an another defense attorney for Barrack, Ronak Desai, joined the hearing from a vehicle outside the West Valley Detention Center in San Bernardino, Calif., where their client was being held.

Prosecutors did not detail the reasons for the unusually large bail package Friday, but during a hearing earlier this week said Barrack presents an unusual risk of flight due to his wealth —estimated at $1 billion by Forbes Magazine — and his extensive foreign ties.

Barrack, 74, is accused of using his high-level contacts in the Trump administration to influence Middle East policy at the direction of UAE officials, of providing them with inside information about U.S. plans and of changing speeches or other public statements by Trump to make them more favorable to UAE and one of its allies, Saudi Arabia. The formal charges against Barrack are failing to register as a foreign agent, conspiracy, obstruction of justice and four counts of making false statements to the FBI.

The indictment is vague about how or if Barrack was remunerated for his efforts, but communications referenced in the case discussed various investment opportunities. His private investment firm, Colony Capital, has reportedly received about $1.5 billion in investment from UAE and Saudi funds.

As part of the bail arrangement, the judge ordered Barrack to have no contact with UAE or Saudi officials, be under an overnight curfew and be subject to GPS location monitoring.

Barrack stepped down as Colony Capital’s CEO last year and as executive chair of the firm in April. However, Colony Capital’s Chief Investment Officer Jonathan Grunzweig agreed to pledge his home as part of the bail package, as did Barrack’s ex-wife Rachelle andhis son Thomas Barrack III.

Barrack already posted $5 million in cash, his attorneys said. The judge said some or all of the remainder of the $250 million would come from Barrack’s shares in another investment firm, Digital Bridge Holdings.

Earlier Friday, the same judge also agreed to release on bail an assistant to Barrack also charged in the case, Nathan Grimes. Grimes’ bond was set at $5 million.

A businessman from UAE who allegedly served as an intermediary for Barrack and Grimes with officials there, Rashid Al-Malik, was also charged in the case. Prosecutors say he left the U.S. in 2019, three days after being questioned by the FBI. Federal officials quickly got an arrest warrant for Al-Malik but he has not returned to the U.S.

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