Thomas Barrack, chairman and chief executive officer of Colony Capital Inc., gestures while speaking during the closing reception at the Milken Institute Japan Symposium in Tokyo, Japan, on Monday, March 25, 2019. The conference brings together business leaders and government officials to discuss geopolitical, economic and social issues facing Japan. Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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Thomas Barrack, a private equity investor who is a close friend of former President Donald Trump, was arrested Tuesday morning on federal charges related to illegally lobbying Trump for the United Arab Emirates, the Justice Department said.

Barrack, who was charged in a seven-count indictment in New York federal court, was chairman of Trump’s 2017 inaugural fund.

Barrack, 74, is a longtime friend of Trump’s, and the founder of the large private equity firm Colony Capital.

The indictment accuses Barrack and several other defendants of unlawful efforts to advance the interests of the UAE at the direction of senior officials of that nation, “by influencing the foreign policy positions of the campaign of a candidate in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and, subsequently, the foreign policy positions of the U.S. government in the incoming administration,” the Justice Department said.

Barrack is also charged with obstruction of justice and making multiple false statements during a June 2019 interview with federal law enforcement agents.

Barrack stepped down at Colony Capital’s CEO in 2020. In April, he resigned as executive chairman of the firm.

A spokeswoman for Trump did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on the arrest.

A spokesman for Barrack could not immediately be reached for comment.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.



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