Sun, 07 Jun 2020

A U.S. political lobbyist has been sentenced to three years of probation and no prison time after pleading guilty to charges related to his work for a Ukrainian political party.

The sentence, announced April 12 by U.S. District Judge Amy Jackson, came after Samuel Patten asked the court for leniency and prosecutors said that he had provided substantial assistance.

Patten was charged with illegal lobbying as well as conspiring to circumvent the U.S. law that bans foreign donations to election campaigns and presidential inaugurations.

Patten last year had admitted to violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act for lobbying on behalf of the Opposition Bloc, a Ukrainian political party.

The party is widely seen as the successor to Party of Regions, which was headed by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych until he fled the country in 2014 amid mass protests.

Patten also admitted to orchestrating a scheme to purchase tickets for President Donald Trumps inauguration on behalf of a wealthy Ukrainian client.

U.S. law bars such committees from accepting foreign donations and Patten admitted that he knew that when he violated the law.

In court papers, prosecutors also said Patten had helped with the investigation into Paul Manafort, Trumps campaign chairman and a former lobbyist for Yanukovych and the Party of Regions.

Both Patten and Manafort worked closely with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian whom the FBI suspects has ties to Russian intelligence.

Kilimnik himself was indicted in U.S. court on charges of witness tampering but has not appeared in a U.S. court. Hes believed to be in Russia.

Manafort is currently serving a 7 1/2 prison sentence after being convicted of bank and tax fraud, and pleading guilty to other foreign agent registration charges.

With reporting by AP

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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