Manafort associate charged over Ukraine lobbying

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An associate of Paul Manafort on Friday pleaded guilty to illegally acting as a foreign agent for a pro-Russia Ukrainian political party in the United States - and agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors, according to reports.

The court filing also detailed Patten's alleged work with another person, identified only as Foreigner B. Patten helped the person draft op-ed articles and get them published in USA media in February 2017.

Patten was charged via a criminal information, which is a document that prosecutors use when a defendant waives an indictment.

Patten was a business associate of Konstantin Kilimnik, who has ties to Russian intelligence.

Patten's plea agreement, which includes cooperating with Mueller, raises the prospect Patten will be called to testify against Manafort, who was found guilty by a Virginia jury last week on bank and tax fraud charges and faces a second trial in Washington next month.

For his work, the company that Patten created with a Russian national who isn't named in the documents received more than $1 million through an offshore Cypriot account.

The goal, prosecutors say, was to influence US policy, but they say Patten never filed under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Mr. Manafort has also been charged with failing to register as a foreign agent for his work on behalf of pro-Russian Ukrainian interests, including the Opposition Bloc, and that trial is scheduled for September in Washington.

Patten also drafted an op-ed for Foreigner B that sought to address concerns about Ukraine's ability to work with the Trump administration.

Patten entered his plea in federal court in Washington, shortly after prosecutors released a four-page charging document that accused him of performing lobbying and consulting work in the United States and Ukraine but failing to register as a foreign agent as required by the Justice Department.

The case against Patten was referred by special counsel Robert Mueller, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney Office confirmed to ABC News. The individual paid $50,000 for the tickets, after receiving the same sum from a company controlled by Patten and an unnamed Russian national.

Later Friday morning, Patten pleaded guilty.

Patten, who served in the State Department under George W. Bush, headed the Moscow office of the International Republican Institute in the early 2000s. Their names made headlines past year when it emerged that Manafort may have been trying to use his elevated role on the Trump campaign to resolve a longstanding financial dispute with Oleg Deripaska, a Russian-Ukrainian oligarch and aluminum magnate.

Details about the Ukrainian oligarch match those of Sergei Lyovochkin, an Opposition Bloc leader whom prosecutors have previously identified as funding Manafort's work in Ukraine. He added no new details when describing Patten's criminal offense, though he added the words a couple of times that Patten "was working as a foreign agent of the opposition bloc".

Patten then worked to find an American citizen to purchase the tickets for $50,000 in total, as a way to circumvent US law, which widely prohibits foreigners from contributing to political activities.

Samuel Patten, 47, also agreed to cooperate with Mueller's probe. Also in attendance was Scott Claffee, a trial lawyer in the Justice Department's National Security Division.

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