NEW YORK – An Aspen man is among the three people who were charged Tuesday with acting as agents of a foreign government.
Matthew Grimes, 27, was named as one three suspects who allegedly conspired to advance the interests of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) along with Tom Barrack, 74, and Rashid Sultan Rashid Al Malik Alshahhi, 43.
Barrack was the most prominent figure named in the indictment. A longtime friend of Donald Trump, he served as the chairman of the former president’s inauguration committee. After the inauguration, Barrack reportedly informally advised senior U.S. officials on issues related to U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.
The indictment alleges that between approximately April 2016 and April 2018, Grimes helped Barrack and Malik meet with high-level UAE and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) leaders to promote “UAE-favored policy positions in the Campaign, in the Administration, and through the media.”
Grimes worked with Barrack and Al Malik, “to create a “wish list” of policy achievements that the UAE wanted to occur within the first 100 days, the first six months, the first year, and the first four years of the Administration,” according to U.S. Department of Justice documents.
The indictment also states Grimes acted as trusted intermediary between Barrack and Al Malik, often at the direction of UAE government officials.
The documents show Grimes “repeatedly expressed his willingness” to help UAE officials. In one such instance, Grimes is reported to have agreed to encourage U.S. government officials “to list” the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization. “Yes. At your direction,” Grimes is alleged to have said during one communication with Al Malik.
“Similarly, at the request of a senior UAE government official, the defendant helped to craft a “strategy” for Al Malik, Barrack, and UAE government officials to increase the UAE’s political influence in the United States using the UAE’s “vast economic surplus,”” according to the indictment.
The Associated Press reported Grimes, who was in Aspen in recent days, according to the documents, was arrested Tuesday in Southern California. A message seeking comment was sent to his attorney but has yet to be returned.