RNC Deputy Finance Chair Elliott Broidy to Plead Guilty to Foreign Agent Registration Act Conspiracy
The former deputy finance chair of the Republican National Committee and prominent fundraiser for President Trump has agreed to plead guilty with lobbying on behalf of Jho Low, an indicted and fugitive financier, who was charged in the ongoing 1MDB sovereign wealth fund investigation and prosecution.
Broidy agreed to assist Jho Low by lobbying the Justice Department and administration and failed to register as required under the Foreign Agent Registration Act. Broidy was paid millions of dollars to assist Jho Low.
The criminal information unsealed in federal court identified Hawaii businesswoman Nickie Mali Lum Davis and another co-conspirator who engaged in a lobbying effort. In August 2020, Davis pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting a FARA violation for her participation in the same scheme. Ultimately, Broidy, Davis and others were unsuccessful in persuading DOJ not to charge Jho Low and seek forfeiture of his assets.
DOJ and Malaysian prosecutors have aggressively prosecuted bribery and kickbacks surrounding valuable investment contracts related to Malaysia’s 1 MDB sovereign wealth fund. Low is alleged to be the key conduit through which Goldman Sachs secured valuable contracts worth over $600 million.
Broidy resigned his position at the RNC finance committee after public reports surfaced of his affair with a woman and subsequent agreement to pay her $1.6 million in hush money. Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney, orchestrated the deal between Broidy and the woman.
Low was indicted last year in the Eastern District of New York with Roger Ng and Tim Leissner, former Goldman Sachs over the alleged multi-billion dollar 1MDB scandal. Leissner, the former Southeast Asia chairman for Goldman Sachs, pleaded guilty and forfeited $43.7 million. Roger Ng has not resolved his charges and is scheduled to go to trial.
Goldman Sachs is still in the process of resolving its FCPA liability related to the Goldman Sachs 1 MDB scandal.
Low, Ng and Leissner laundered proceeds from the bribery scheme by purchasing New York real estate, buying artwork from an art auction house and funding a Hollywood file, “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
In addition to the 1MDB scandal, Broidy and Davis are charged with lobbying to have the U.S. remove Guo Wengui, a billionaire and opponent to the Chinese government.
Also, Low has pending federal charges in a separate D.C. federal court cases with co-defendant Pras Michel, a well-known rapper, for money laundering in a scheme to buy access and influence by donating money to President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign.
In 2018, DOJ secured a guilty plea against George Higginbotham, a DOJ employee, for helping arrange bank accounts used to facilitate the transfer of money from Low to the lobbyists.
Lobbying Efforts Related to the 1 MDB Scheme
During the investigation of the 1MDB scheme, Broidy sought to set up meetings to influence high-ranking US officials, including Trump, then-AG Jeff Sessions, to persuade them not charge Low and a Chinese government minister who used Low to lobby the US government concerning the return of Guo to China.
Broidy contacted a number of US officials to secure access for foreign government representatives, including the Chinese minister and former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. Broidy sought to set up a golf game with Trump and Najib to advance Low and Malaysia’s interests. Najib was critical of DOJ’s forfeiture actions as part of the 1MDB scandal. Najib has since been convicted in Malaysia for charges related to the 1 MDB scandal and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment.
Eventually, Najiob met Trump in the White House in September 2017, but they never played golf together.
Broidy was unsuccessful in getting the US to remove Guo to China.