US billionaire Ahmad Khawaja was detained by Lithuanian law-enforcement officials in Vilnius on September 3, a Lithuanian news portal revealed on September 21.
US officials accuse Khawaja, who holds Lebanese and US passports, of illegally transferring $3.5mn to Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign, but the man says he is being persecuted because he has compromising information about US President Donald Trump.
The businessman is married to a Lithuanian citizen and has an apartment in downtown Vilnius. He also owns real estate in the port city of Klaipeda.
Khawaja told Lithuanian courts that his case was political and emerged only after Trump began his re-election campaign.
In early September, Vilnius City District Court remanded the billionaire in custody for two months.
In its judgment that is final and not subject to appeal, Vilnius Regional Court upheld the lower court's decision last week.
The indictment against the businessman states: “Khawaja has agreed with an adviser to foreign governments in the Middle East to make more than $3.5mn illegal campaign contributions and transferred these illegal contributions to various political committees in support of a specific US presidential candidate in 2016 elections in order to gain access to and influence the candidate.”
In addition, Khawaja is accused of entering into a fictitious licensing agreement, handed over hundreds of thousands of dollars to six friends and accomplices, and ordered them to illegally donate money on their behalf to “a US presidential candidate he supported”. This allegedly allowed him to exceed the legally limited contribution limits and created an incorrect report on the actual source of contributions.
In an interview with Spectator in early 2020, Khawaja said he was aware of tens of millions of dollars being illegally transferred to Trump’s election campaign from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
There are claims these countries in the Middle East invested in the election of Trump in 2016 in exchange for a tough stance on Iran. Khawaja said George Nader, a businessman imprisoned for a decade for raping children, told him about the scheme this summer.
According to Khawaja himself, this information is the reason why the US has initiated criminal proceedings against him.
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