Washington Operative Who Lobbied For Ukrainian Party Charged

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Patten appeared in court Friday morning before Judge Amy Berman Jackson, the same judge who is handling Manafort's trial which is scheduled to begin next month.

The documents filed along with Patten's plea lay out years of work he performed for a wealthy Ukrainian businessman and a Ukrainian political party known as the Opposition Bloc beginning in 2014.

"Justice Department prosecutors alleged that Patten, through an entity referred to as "Company A", partnered "50-50" with a Russian national for lobbying work conducted on USA soil, which included "[advising] the pro-Russian Ukrainian party Opposition Bloc" and a "prominent Ukraine oligarch".

Although the charges were not brought by Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, they stem from his team's work, and overlap substantially with its continuing investigation, suggesting Patten could be a useful witness.

At Manafort's Virginia trial, his former protege Rick Gates testified that Lyovochkin paid Manafort's consulting firm millions of dollars for political work, including for the Party of Regions, the predecessor of the Opposition Bloc.

Prosecutors say that Patten "solicited a United States citizen to act as a "straw" purchaser" in order to hide the source of the money for the tickets.

W. Samuel Patten, 47, entered his plea in federal court in Washington, shortly after prosecutors released a charging document that accused him of performing lobbying and consulting work in the United States but failing to register as a foreign agent as required by the Justice Department. However, a member of Mueller's team, Andrew Weissmann, was present in the courtroom Friday.

In court, Patten conveyed the air of a solemn man aware of what he had done.

Patten performed various services for Cambridge Analytica, the company that became embroiled in controversy earlier this year due to its sweeping collection of Facebook data, as well as its parent company SCL Group.

Patten also reportedly worked at the OR office of Cambridge Analytica's parent company, SCL Group, on voter targeting in the US 2014 midterm election cycle, according to the Daily Beast, which said he described his work as developing "microtargeting" technologies "adopted by at least one major USA presidential candidate".

Kilimnik and Manafort, meanwhile, have been indicted on allegations tied to their own work in Ukraine. He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The Ukrainian opposition bloc had deep ties to Russian Federation in the period in which Patten represented them, including former Ukrainian President and opposition bloc member Viktor Yanukovych living in Russian Federation after he was driven out of Ukraine in 2014.

He headed the International Republican Institute's Moscow office from 2001 to 2004, and provided technical assistance to a range of political parties and non-governmental organizations, according to the website.

Patten violated FARA by contacting members of Congress, the executive branch, and the media without disclosing that work to the Justice Department, according to the documents.

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