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World News

Trump ex-fundraiser charged for role in foreign lobbying

(Reuters) - Elliott Broidy, a former fundraiser for U.S. President Donald Trump, was charged with illegally lobbying him to drop an investigation involving a massive Malaysian embezzlement scandal, according to court documents.

Broidy also illegally lobbied to arrange the return of a mainland Chinese dissident living in the United States.

In exchange for millions of dollars, Broidy agreed to lobby Trump and the Department of Justice to end an investigation of a “wealthy businessperson living in East Asia” for the person’s role in Malaysia’s 1MDB scandal, according to the documents filed on Tuesday.

Broidy is expected to plead guilty Oct. 20, according to a source familiar with the situation on Thursday.

Broidy, a businessman who held senior finance posts in Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and on his inaugural committee, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

He is the latest person with ties to Trump to be charged with a crime and comes as the president is trailing in polls with less than four weeks until the Nov. 3 election.

Although not identified in court papers, the person in the 1MDB scandal is believed to be Jho Low, and the Chinese dissident is believed to be fugitive billionaire Guo Wengui.

Low faces charges in the United States and Malaysia for allegations that he orchestrated the theft of $4.5 billion from 1MDB. Low has denied wrongdoing.

The U.S. Foreign Registration Act (FARA) requires people who lobby the U.S. government for foreign entities to register.

Nickie Lum Davis, a co-conspirator, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting violations of the act in August.

The Justice Department last year stepped up its enforcement of the rarely prosecuted law on foreign lobbying.

The prosecution of Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman for Trump, involved FARA violations.

Manafort earned tens of millions of dollars covertly lobbying for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine.

Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware; Editing by Richard Chang

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