A top aide of US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump lobbied for the Kashmiri American Council, a Washington-based group charged by the US Justice Department for working as a front of Pakistan’s premier spy agency, according to court and lobbying records.
Paul Manafort, who is a known Republican political consultant and Trump’s top campaigner for presidential elections, was part of a lobbying firm Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly which was paid $700,000 by the Kashmiri American Council between 1990 and 1995, a Yahoo News investigative report claimed on Monday.
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However, this was just a chunk of $4 million that US’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) claimed allegedly came from the Inter Services Intelligence through Kashmiri council’s director Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai. Fai was convicted in 2011 of secretly influencing US policy in disputed Kashmir.
While Fai was held by the FBI and later sentenced to two years in a federal prison after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy and tax fraud charges, Manafort, who handled the Kashmiri account for his firm, was never charged in the case.
According to the report, while registering with Congress as a domestic lobbyist for the Kashmiri American Council, Manafort never registered with the US Justice Department as a foreign agent of Pakistan, as he would have been required to do so if he was aware of the ISI funding of his client.
A former senior Pakistani official, who asked not to be identified, told Yahoo News that there was never any doubt on Pakistan’s part that Manafort knew of Islamabad’s role in backing the Kashmiri council.
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“During a trip from Islamabad in 1994 I met with Manafort and Fai in Manafort’s office in Alexandria, Va, to review strategy and plans for the council. Manafort, at the meeting, presented plans to influence members of Congress to back Pakistan’s case for a plebiscite for Kashmir,” the official said.
Although the former official claimed that there was no way Manafort did not know that Pakistan was involved with the council he upheld: “Some things are not explicitly stated.”
Neither Manafort nor the Trump campaign responded to requests for comment on the report.
This article originally appeared on Yahoo News.
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