A businessman who helped broker a meeting between an ally of President Donald Trump and an official of the Russian government has been indicted for allegedly funneling millions in illegal campaign contributions to support Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.
George Nader, who was charged in another case earlier this year with child trafficking and transporting child pornography, was one of seven people named in an indictment unsealed in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday night involving the campaign payments.
Nader, 60, is charged with funneling money to Ahmad “Andy” Khawaja, 48, of Los Angeles in order to circumvent federal election laws that restrict the amount of donations from a specific individual and where that money is actually coming from, prosecutors say.
The indictment alleges that Nader was reporting to a middle eastern government throughout the period.
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From “March 2016 through January 2017, Khawaja conspired with Nader to conceal the source of more than $3.5 million in campaign contributions, directed to political committees associated with a candidate for President of the United States in the 2016 election,” the Department of Justice said in a press release.
"Khawaja and Nader allegedly made these contributions in an effort to gain influence with high-level political figures, including the candidate."
The indictment doesn’t name the specific campaign but includes text messages from Nader to an official from the foreign country saying, “Had a terrific meeting with my Big Sister H. You will be most delighted.” In addition, the timing of the events and fundraisers matches Clinton campaign events.
The indictment refers to a Candidate 2 and the text messages make it clear that candidate is Trump. Khawaja allegedly texted Nader on WhatsApp saying, “That’s why we need birthday gift, If [Candidate 2] gets elected its over for the Arabs,” the indictment says.
The indictment says that Khawaja’s company donated $1 million to Trump’s inaugural committee and attended the inaugural with Nader.
Nader was questioned by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team in 2018 about his role in arranging a meeting in the Seychelles islands between Erik Prince, a Trump supporter and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' brother, and Kirill Dmitriev, the chief executive officer of Russia's sovereign wealth fund and a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Dmitriev had wanted to meet with the Trump transition team.
Prince, an associate of former Trump campaign executive and White House strategist Steve Bannon, has said it was a chance encounter, and that he just happened to be in the Seychelles to meet with officials of the United Arab Emirates. Nader told Mueller's investigators that the meeting was planned well ahead of time.
Nader, 60, a Lebanese American with political connections in the Middle East, was also business partners with Elliott Broidy, a top fundraiser for Trump in the 2016 election.
Nader was arrested on child pornography charges in June, after officials had searched his cellphone and images of boys as young as 3 being sexually exploited. A month later, the feds also charged him with having knowingly transported a 14-year-old boy from Europe to Washington Dulles Airport in February 2000 and then allegedly engaging in sexual acts with that child at his home.
Nader, a dual citizen of Lebanon and the U.S., has been remanded to federal custody pending trial in that case.
Tom Winter is a New York-based correspondent covering crime, courts, terrorism, and financial fraud on the East Coast for the NBC News Investigative Unit.
Dareh Gregorian is a politics reporter for NBC News.