US charges associate of indicted Russian with lobbying violation

Manafort-Linked Republican Lobbyist Reaches Plea Deal Over Ukraine Work

Lobbyist tied to Manafort associate pleads guilty to failing to register as foreign agent

A business associate of Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian consultant indicted by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller, pleaded guilty on Friday to failing to register as a lobbyist for a pro-Kremlin political party in Ukraine.

Patten confirmed his involvement with Cambridge Analytica to The Daily Beast, saying he assisted the firm's US projects in 2014 and also "several overseas campaigns".

The charges are spelled out in a criminal information, which often precedes a guilty plea.

Patten was a business associate of Konstantin Kilimnik, a man USA authorities say has ties to Russian intelligence. Earlier this month, Manafort was convicted on eight counts of bank and tax fraud arising from the Mueller investigation. Patten's company was involved in lobbying work in the United States and Ukraine, prosecutors said, adding that he failed to register as a foreign agent with the Justice Department as required by law.

For decades, prosecutors have rarely brought charges for violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

In a DC federal court, Samuel Patten copped to failing to register as a foreign agent while lobbying on behalf of the Opposition Bloc party for the past four years and agreed to cooperate in exchange for leniency in his sentencing, the Washington Post reports.

The case against Patten was referred by special counsel Robert Mueller, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney Office confirmed to ABC News.

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In January 2015, Patten and Kilimnik tried to coordinate meetings between his clients and lawmakers on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and House Committee on Foreign Affairs, State Department officials, and multiple members of the US press corps, prosecutors allege. He made most of his money working for former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, whose party regrouped into the Opposition Bloc after Yanukovych fled to Russian Federation in 2014.

According to the filing, Patten also drafted op-ed articles for the oligarch and succeeded in having at least one published by a national American media outlet in February 2017.

Kilimnik's name first appeared in court papers publicly when he was charged by Mueller with witness tampering, along with another longtime lobbyist, Paul Manafort. Patten did not speak to reporters at the court, but apologized to family and friends on Facebook after entering his plea.

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.

According to court papers, Patten misled the committee during his testimony and withheld certain documents to hide that Foreigner B had been behind the purchase of inauguration tickets. She noted that she asked him "point blank" if he worked for foreign interests in the United States and he would only respond that he "represented clients outside of the U.S".

Prosecutions of the offense have been rare, but in recent years, the Justice Department's national security division has taken a tougher stance on enforcement of the law.

Patten was released on his own recognizance Friday without a sentencing date.

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