Manafort associate pleads guilty, will cooperate with Mueller investigation

Robert Mueller Indicts Konstantin Kilimnik and Hits Paul Manafort With Another Charge

USA prosecutors on Friday charged a business associate of Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian-Ukrainian political consultant indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, with failing to register as a foreign agent for lobbying on behalf of a Ukranian political party.

Patten was scheduled to appear before a federal judge on Friday morning for an arraignment.

Patten was charged by way of a criminal information, a document that can only be filed with a defendant's consent and that typically signals a guilty plea is planned.

The case sketched out by prosecutors encompassed Patten, a respected Republican operative and consultant whose family was once part of Washington's social elite; money transfers from a Cypriot bank; and a Russian national who had also worked for Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager, and been accused of maintaining ties to Russian intelligence.

Manafort, who was sacked as Trump's campaign chairman in August 2016, was convicted by a federal jury in Virginia on tax and bank fraud stemming from his work between 2010 and 2014 for the pro-Russia Ukrainian political party Party of Regions and then-President Viktor Yanukovych.

Kilimnik and Manafort were indicted in June in Washington for witness tampering.

According to the indictment, Patten received $1 million for lobbying work for a Ukrainian opposition party, without properly registering as a foreign lobbyist. Prosecutors said this violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, referred Patten's case to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. Patten praised Kilimnik at the time as a person who helped Manafort navigate the complicated Ukrainian political scene.

Patten pleaded guilty earlier Friday to failing to disclose his lobbying on behalf of Ukraine, and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

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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.

Manafort's name was not mentioned once during Friday's hearing.

Patten was informed in writing of the ban, court papers say.

Patten's work continued through Donald Trump's surprise election win.

Despite his lobbying work for the pro-Russian opposition bloc, Patten's website states that he previously worked with Russian opposition leader and Putin critic Boris Nemtsov, who was murdered in 2015 two days before a planned demonstration.

Patten and his Kilimnik even asked their client's permission to register as foreign agents.

But with Manafort's prosecution, the Justice Department has been more closely scrutinizing such work. Mark Warner of Virginia, confirmed that the committee had made a criminal referral to the Justice Department requesting an investigation into Patten.

Patten stood with his attorney, Stuart A. Sears, and after surrendering his passport and was released on his own recognizance pending sentencing. The charge is a felony that is punishable by a statutory maximum of up to five years in prison, and potential financial penalties.

A prosecutor from the DC US Attorney's Office read the charging document made public Friday before the hearing nearly word for word.

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