The FBI has seized the electronic data of a retired four-star general accused of lying and withholding “incriminating” papers regarding his role in an unlawful foreign lobbying campaign on behalf of Qatar, a wealthy Persian Gulf country.A prospective criminal prosecution against former Marine Gen. John R. Allen, who led US and NATO forces in Afghanistan before being appointed to run the renowned Brookings Institution think tank in 2017, was revealed in new federal court files released Tuesday.It’s part of a larger probe that includes Richard G. Olson, a former ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan who pled guilty to federal charges last week, and Imaad Zuberi, a well-known political fundraiser who is serving a 12-year sentence for corruption. As part of the probe, several members of Congress have been questioned.
The court documents show Allen’s behind-the-scenes efforts to assist Qatar influence US policy in 2017, when the gas-rich Persian Gulf monarchy and its neighbours were embroiled in a diplomatic dispute.In a search warrant application, FBI agent Babak Adib stated, “There is considerable evidence that these FARA violations were deliberate.” He was alluding to the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Allen allegedly lied to US officials about his role in the lobbying campaign and neglected to disclose “that he was simultaneously pursuing multimillion-dollar commercial partnerships with the government of Qatar,” according to Adib. According to the FBI, during a 2020 interview with law enforcement officials, Allen offered a “false account of events” regarding his work for Qatar and neglected to submit pertinent email exchanges in response to an earlier grand jury subpoena.