A California enterprise capitalist and prime Donald Trump donor was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison for illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion, hiding his function as a overseas agent and obstructing a federal investigation, officers reported.
Imaad Shah Zuberi, 50, was additionally ordered Thursday by U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips to pay practically $16 million in restitution and a felony tremendous of $1.75 million.
Zuberi, who donated $900,000 to Trump’s inauguration, used his San Francisco-based enterprise capital agency, Avenue Ventures LLC, to foyer U.S. officers for years on behalf of overseas governments, together with Turkey and Libya, in response to court docket paperwork.
“Zuberi turned acting as an unregistered foreign agent into a business enterprise,” mentioned Assistant U.S. Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers. “He used foreign money to fund illegal campaign contributions that bought him political influence and used that influence to lobby U.S. officials for policy changes on behalf of numerous foreign principals.”
Not solely was he secretly representing overseas pursuits, he was additionally scamming purchasers, in response to prosecutors. Zuberi raised an estimated $7 million for U.S. Cares, an organization he claimed would export humanitarian support to Iran. But he ended up utilizing 90% of the cash for himself on actual property purchases and to repay bank card and mortgage money owed, federal officers mentioned.
Zuberi had additionally funneled cash to now-President Joe Biden, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and several other different politicians, officers mentioned.
A spokesperson for Biden mentioned they’d met largely at donor occasions when he was vp and that he had had no data that Zuberi was breaking any legal guidelines, according to Politico. Federal officers mentioned nobody who acquired donations from Zuberi has been accused of understanding the funds had been improper.
Quite a lot of the crimes had been unearthed after questionable donations to Trump’s inaugural committee had been investigated.
“I’m deeply sorry and, of course, humiliated,” Zuberi mentioned earlier than sentencing. “I have no excuse for what I’ve done.”
Officials mentioned the case addressed the troubling affect of overseas cash within the U.S. political system and would enhance election transparency.
“Mr. Zuberi flouted federal laws that restrict foreign influences upon our government and prohibit injecting foreign money into our political campaigns,” Acting U.S. Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison for the Central District of California mentioned in an announcement. His sentence “underscores the importance of our ongoing efforts to maintain transparency in U.S. elections and policy-making processes.”
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