George Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman and a witness in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into 2016 Russian interference, has been indicted for allegedly conspiring to pour more than $3 million in illegal campaign contributions into the 2016 presidential election.
According to the Justice Department, Andy Khawaja—the CEO of a California-based credit card processing company—conspired with Nader to conceal the source of over $3.5 million in contributions made to the political committees linked to a 2016 presidential candidate. The Justice Department did not specify which presidential candidate or committees received the donations.
While the donations were made under the names of Khawaja, his wife, and his business, the contributions were allegedly funded by Nader.
As Khawaja and Nader arranged these payments, Nader is accused of reporting to an official of a foreign government on his efforts to gain influence with the unnamed candidate and other political figures with the donations.
The Associated Press reported that Khawaja gave over $4 million to Clinton's campaign and to other Democrats, but he pivoted to throwing money at President Trump after he won the 2016 election, donating $1 million to Trump's inaugural committee—which got him an Oval Office picture with Trump. Nader, who is currently in prison on child porn charges, forged ties with the Trump campaign in 2016 and was known to act as an intermediary in setting up meetings between members of Trump's campaign and foreign officials.
Federal prosecutors say Khawaja also conspired with six other men to hide his own excessive contributions to a number of political committees. Khawaja allegedly attempted to hide over $1.8 million in contributions between March 2016 through 2018 with those six men, identified by the Justice Department as Roy Boulos, Rudy Dekermenjian, Mohammad Diab, Rani El-Saadi, Stevan Hill and Thayne Whipple.
The Justice Department alleges that these donations enabled Khawaja to host a private fundraiser for a 2016 presidential candidate and a fundraising dinner for one elected official in 2018. Neither the candidate nor the official were named by federal prosecutors.
Khawaja is currently a commissioner for the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. According to the website, he was appointed to the commission by Sen. Chuck Shumer (D-NY). His company, Allied Wallet, had previously come under scrutiny over accusations it helped shady businesses get past banking systems through the use of “sham websites and dummy companies."
Khawaja was charged with 35 counts in the 53-count Nov. 7 indictment, including counts of conspiracy, making conduit contributions, making false statements, and obstruction of a grand jury investigation.
Nader was also charged with conspiring to make conduit contributions. He was questioned extensively as part of Mueller's investigation due to his connections and efforts to sway the Trump White House. He was later arrested and charged with sex trafficking.