Thomas Barrack — one of L.A.’s biggest private equity investors — pleaded not guilty on July 26 in New York to federal charges of illegally lobbying former President Donald Trump on behalf of the United Arab Emirates.

“Of course, I am innocent of all these charges, and we will prove that in court,” said Barrack in a statement.


Barrack, who is a friend of Trump, is charged with failing to register his work for the UAE. The 74-year-old is also accused in a federal indictment of obstruction of justice and making false statements to federal law enforcement agents. 

“The important thing for us to remember is three miles from here standing in the middle of New York Harbor is the Statue of Liberty ... My grandparents came here in 1896 and 1900 and from humble and simple beginnings they gave me the gift of all that America has to offer. That statue is made of steel with a patina of copper. We’re in the middle of a very heated moment and I can only tell you that the hardest steel is forged from the hottest fire,” said Barrack, whose grandparents immigrated to the United States from Lebanon.

Following his arrest last week in Los Angeles, Barrack withdrew plans to raise $250 million for his special acquisition purpose company.

Falcon Acquisition Corp. told the Securities and Exchange Commission on July 23 that it withdrew its registration statement with the agency because the company “elected to abandon” planned transactions.


The transactions had included an initial public offering of 25 million shares to raise $250 million, which was formed by Barrack’s family office Falcon Peak and Brentwood-based TI Capital Management.


On July 26, Barrack’s $250 million release bond was maintained by a federal judge in a Brooklyn courthouse during the arraignment, where his next court appearance was scheduled for Sept. 2.  

 
Judge Sanket Bulsara ordered Barrack to refrain from traveling on private aircraft and from conducting any foreign financial transactions, and to limit his domestic financial transactions to $50,000 or less.


Barrack will live in his residence in Aspen, Colo. He is allowed to travel only to Southern California to visit his children and New York for court appearances. 
Barrack, who was raised in L.A., also has a home in the Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County.

His compliance with the travel restrictions is being monitored by an electronic ankle bracelet and GPS.

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