Former U.S. Ambassador pleads guilty in Qatar lobbying probe on condition that four star general also be investigated

A former United States ambassador to Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates pleaded guilty this week to federal misdemeanor charges of lying in ethics paperwork and for violating revolving door laws.

A 34-year Foreign Services veteran who served as special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan from 2015 until 2016 under the Obama administration, Richard G. Olsen, admitted to the charges this week, but only on the condition that a four star Marine general, Gen. John G. Allen, also be investigated for similar offenses.

According to Olsen, Allen should be investigated because he was made President of the Brookings Institute, an influential political research firm, to which Qatar donated $14.8 million over four years just after Allen retired from the military.

Olsen and Allen are – thus far –  the most high-profile US diplomats to be named in a detailed investigation into a flurry of moves to gain influence in Washington, DC ahead of the Trump administration taking office. The wealthy nation of Qatar and its political rival and neighbor, the United Arab Emirates, were engaged in a battle for favor with the incoming Trump White House.

In his guilty plea, Olsen admitted he failed to disclose in ethics paperwork that he had received airfare and luxury accommodations on a trip from Mexico to London, paid for by a Pakistani-American businessman, Imaad Zuberi, who was recently sentenced to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to tax evasion, foreign-influence peddling and campaign-finance violations.

Olsen’s charges carry a sentence of up to one year each in prison, but exculpatory evidence against Allen could shorten his sentence. Olsen also faces the possibility of a lesser sentence due to his cooperation with investigators.




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Laura is a freelance writer out of Maryland and a mom of three. Her background is in political science and international relations, and she has been doing political writing and editing for 17 years. Laura has also written parenting pieces for the Today Show and is currently working on writing a collection of remarkable true stories about normal people. She writes for FBA because unbiased news is vital to unity, and readers deserve the facts free of opinion.

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