A major political donor and Los Angeles businessman has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for making illegal contributions to Joe Biden, Obama, Hillary Clinton and other politicians.
A treasure trove of unsealed court documents included photographs of Zuberi rubbing elbows with then-Vice President Joe Biden.
Zuberi is said to have made six-figure donations to the Obama-Biden campaign in 2012 and the 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign.
According to AP, a spokesperson for Biden said he had no knowledge of Zuberi’s illegal activities when they met, mainly at donor roundtables.
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Imaad Zuberi, a Pakistani-American, pleaded guilty to tax evasion, campaign finance violations and lobbying American officials while working as a foreign agent.
A PA investigation found that Zuberi had sold access to high-profile political figures in exchange for millions of dollars in foreign money as part of a straw donor program.
U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips, appointed by Clinton, ordered Zuberi to pay $ 16 million in restitution in addition to a $ 2 million fine.
“I am deeply sorry and, of course, humiliated,” Zuberi told the judge, according to Politico. “I have no excuse for what I did.”
The PA reported that Zuberi has cooperated with the federal government, but part of his cooperation is still under seal.
Federal prosecutors have asked U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips for a harsh sentence, calling the scope of Zuberi’s scheme unprecedented. The Los Angeles businessman’s crimes included unregistered lobbying for governments with unequal human rights records like Sri Lanka and Turkey, as well as a Ukrainian oligarch close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, prosecutors said.
Phillips noted the sophistication of Zuberi’s straw donation system and also spoke about the role these campaign finance surveys play in preserving the integrity of the U.S. election.
Zuberi, 50, claimed his wrongdoing had been limited and asked for credit for years of cooperation with federal and local law enforcement. His lawyers noted that he had already paid more than $ 10 million in restitution.
Part of Zuberi’s cooperation remains under seal. Phillips, citing national security interests, closed the courtroom for part of Thursday’s proceedings to discuss the classified information Zuberi had filed in an attempt to reduce his sentence. Zuberi’s attorneys have asked Phillips to assign him a list of law enforcement leads and information he has provided to the federal government, according to people familiar with court records.
Zuberi, 50, is due to report to prison on May 25.
If Zuberi is going to jail for selling access to top American politicians, why isn’t Hunter Biden in jail for doing the exact same thing?