Obama’s Ambassador to Pakistan Pleads Guilty to Illegal Foreign Lobbying for Qatar

A former U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates under Barack Obama has been arrested for his role in an undisclosed lobbying campaign for the Qatari government.

Richard Olson was arrested and accused of, among other charges, using his position to broker business arrangements for himself after his tenure as ambassador ended. He will plead guilty to the charges.

According to Axios, “Prosecutors accuse Olson, a career foreign service officer who served as an ambassador under President Barack Obama, of courting foreign work while in office and using his political influence to advance Qatari interests in Washington after leaving government.

“The Justice Department has charged him with making false statements in ethics paperwork and violating laws restricting foreign lobbying by ex-federal officials, both misdemeanors.”

Olson filed court documents earlier this month saying he will plead guilty to the charges.

The document says:

“I, Richard Gustav Olson, have consented to the filing of an information in the above-designated case.

“I wish to plead guilty to the offenses charged, to waive trial in the Central District of California, and to dispose of the case in the District of Columbia in which I am present.”

Axios added:

Federal law bars senior U.S. officials from participating in any lobbying or public relations efforts on behalf of foreign governments within a year of leaving office.

Prosecutors say Olson also knowingly filed false Office of Government Ethics paperwork by failing to disclose payments from his Pakistani American contact for travel to London, where they discussed post-government business agreements.

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While Olson never registered as a foreign agent of Qatar, he is not charged with violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

From The Daily Mail:

Documents filed by prosecutors claim Olson was paid $20,000 a month by an unnamed Pakistani American lobbyist right after leaving office, breaching a federal one-year lobbying ban for former public officials.

The lobbyist also allegedly funded a $19,000 trip to the UK in 2015 for Olson to discuss a $300,000 deal with a Middle East businessman while he was still ambassador.

DailyMail.com can reveal the lobbyist is Imaad Zuberi, an LA-based jet-setting playboy currently serving 12 years prison after funneling foreign cash to the campaigns of Joe Biden, Donald Trump, Lindsey Graham and a host of other U.S. politicians.

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By David Hawkins

David Hawkins is a writer who specializes in political commentary and world affairs. He's been writing professionally since 2014.

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