Thomas Barrack told a UAE official that Trump considered appointing him ambassador to the country and ‘give Abu Dhabi more power’: prosecutors

thomas barrack
Thomas Barrack, executive chairman, Colony Northstar, speaks at the Milken Institute’s 21st Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S. May 1, 2018.

  • Trump considered making Thomas Barrack the UAE Ambassador, according to messages obtained by prosecutors.
  • Prosecutors arrested Barrack Tuesday on charges of trying to influence US foreign policy on the UAE’s behalf.
  • Trump appointing Barrack would “give Abu Dhabi more power!” Barrack told a UAE official, prosecutors allege.
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Thomas Barrack – the Donald Trump associate arrested Tuesday on charges of acting as an unregistered foreign agent – told an official of the United Arab Emirates that the ex-president considered appointing him as the US ambassador to the UAE and that the move would “give Abu Dhabi more power!” according to court documents filed by prosecutors.

On Tuesday, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn charged Barrack with seven felony counts. Barrack was the chairman of former President Trump’s inaugural fund as well as a campaign advisor following decades of work together in the real estate industry.

Prosecutors also charged Rashid Sultan Rashid Al Malik Alshahhi, a UAE official, as well as Matthew Grimes, a US citizen, in the indictment. Justice Department officials said the group conspired to influence US foreign policy with regards to the UAE, and that Barrack lied about their activities to the FBI.

A spokesperson for Barrack told Insider he planned to plead not guilty. Prosecutors said in a press release that Alshahhi remains at large.

In April 2017, according to charging documents, Barrack told Alshahhi that he spoke to Trump. Trump discussed whether to appoint his longtime friend as the US ambassador to the UAE or as a Special Envoy in the State Department for the Middle East, Barrack said, according to prosecutors.

Barrack said that either appointment “would give Abu Dhabi much power!” according to prosecutors.

According to prosecutors, Alshahhi praised Barrack for a “very effective operation” in persuading Trump. Alshahhi also told Barrack that senior UAE officials “loved the idea” of Barrack as an ambassador or envoy and would support it, prosecutors said.

Barrack’s company Colony NorthStar raised more than $7 billion the year following Trump’s inauguration, with 24% of that money coming from the Persian Gulf, according to the New York Times.

Trump ultimately left the UAE ambassador post vacant for two years, nominating former construction executive and Republican fundraiser John Rakolta to the position in May 2018. He also appointed a former Trump Organization lawyer, Jason Greenblatt, as a special envoy to the Middle East. Barrack had not taken a position in the US government before Trump left office in January 2017, though according to the New York Times he rejected offers to become Treasury secretary and the US ambassador to Mexico.

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India’s richest people are fleeing on private jets as the country hits almost 350,000 COVID-19 infections in another daily global record

airport coronavirus
A demand for private jets boomed as Indians who could afford it scrambled to escape a second coronavirus wave.

  • India’s uber-rich are fleeing the country on private jets as new travel bans come into place.
  • The country is currently battling a catastrophic second coronavirus wave.
  • Local media reports say many people chose to fly to Dubai, which is close by.
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India’s ultra-rich are paying tens and thousands of dollars to escape the country as it set a new global record for daily coronavirus infections – for the fourth day in a row.

In the last week, India has become the new epicenter of the virus, which has completely overwhelmed the country’s healthcare system and crematoriums and has led to a dire shortage of oxygen.

On Sunday, public health officials reported 349,691 new COVID-19 cases in the country, according to Sky News. They also reported 2,767 deaths, another daily record, as some nations announced they would implement travel restrictions on visitors from India.

Read more: Booking Holdings CEO says he sees ‘significant upsides’ to using vaccine passports as the travel industry gets ready to make its big comeback

The alarming numbers are prompting wealthy Indians to pay thousands for last-minute flights and private jets as travel restrictions come into place.

One popular destination seems to be the United Arab Emirates, which is only a short distance away from India and usually operates hundreds of flights there. It announced this week that it was barring the entry of travelers from India for 10 days from April 25, according to Gulf News.

A spokesman for charter company Air Charter Service India told AFP that the amount of interest in private jets has been “absolutely crazy.”

“We have 12 flights going to Dubai tomorrow and each flight is completely full,” the spokesman said Friday, according to The Economic Times.

Another private jet provider, Enthral Aviation, said it has been overwhelmed by hundreds of inquiries over the last few days.

“We have requested more aircraft from abroad to meet the demand … It costs $38,000 to hire a 13-seater jet from Mumbai to Dubai and $31,000 to hire a six-seater aircraft,” an Enthral Aviation spokesperson said, according to The Economic Times.

“People are making groups and arranging to share our jets just to get a seat… We’ve had some queries for Thailand but mostly the demand is for Dubai,” they added.

According to the Sunday Times, at least eight private jets were flown to Britain from India in the last 24 hours as the UK implemented its own travel ban on the country. It is reported that the jets may have cost more than $138,000 (£100,000) to charter for the nine-hour flight.

A Covid-19 patient gets admitted to a government hospital in Kolkata, India, 22 April, 2021. India reported 314,835 fresh coronavirus infections on Thursday according to an Indian media report.
A COVID-19 patient gets admitted to a government hospital in Kolkata, India, on April 22, 2021.

India has been facing an unexpected and devastating second coronavirus wave. A shocking video from the BBC, published Thursday, showed people dying on stretchers while waiting for help outside a hospital.

In New Delhi, which has been hit particularly hard, one person is said to be dying of COVID-19 every four minutes.

The US government said on Saturday that it was seriously concerned about the worsening situation in the country and that it was in high-level talks to deploy extra help to Indian healthcare workers.

“Our hearts go out to the Indian people in the midst of the horrific COVID-19 outbreak,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Twitter. “We are working closely with our partners in the Indian government, and we will rapidly deploy additional support to the people of India and India’s health care heroes.”

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