The United Arab Emirates reportedly recruited and paid an Emirati businessman to provide intelligence on the Trump administration in 2017, The Intercept reported Monday. Rashid al-Malik, who was invited to an inauguration dinner for President Trump and “onetime business associate” of Trump ally Tom Barrack, was reportedly paid “tens of thousands of dollars a month” by UAE’s National Intelligence Service to relay information to “Emirati intelligence handlers” about matters pertaining to the country.
Some of the intel topics reportedly included: U.S. efforts to mediate the conflict between the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar; any meetings U.S. officials had with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman; and U.S. sentiment towards the Muslim Brotherhood.
Al-Malik also reportedly told his handlers he approached individuals about a potential business venture that would be “indirectly associated with Trump.” The businessman has been tied to a probe of potentially “illegal donations” to Trump’s inauguration fund, and he reportedly cooperated with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators. Al-Malik’s attorney told The Intercept that his client was “not an intelligence operative” nor was he “paid to report on the Trump Administration.” The White House, CIA, and Justice Department reportedly declined to comment.