03 Dec 2018
A former employee with the U.S. Department of Justice has pleaded guilty for his role in a conspiracy to deceive banks in the United States about the source and purpose of millions of dollars sent from overseas to finance a lobbying campaign on behalf of foreign interests.
George Higginbotham, 46, of Washington, D.C., who was employed at the Justice Department as a Senior Congressional Affairs Specialist from July 2016 to August 2018, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to make false statements to a bank.
According to admissions made in connection with his plea, in 2017 Higginbotham helped facilitate the transfer of tens of millions of dollars from foreign bank accounts to accounts in the United States to finance a lobbying campaign to resolve civil and criminal matters related to the Department of Justice’s investigation of the embezzlement and bribery scheme concerning 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
He admitted that the foreign principal behind the lobbying campaign was alleged to be the primary architect of the 1MDB scheme.
“Higginbotham, as a Justice Department employee, played no role in any aspect of the investigation and failed to influence any aspect of the Department’s investigation of 1MDB,” the DoJ said.
“[He] further admitted that another purpose of the lobbying campaign was an attempt to persuade high-level U.S. government officials to have a separate foreign national, who was residing in the United States on a temporary visa at the time, removed from the United States and sent back to his country of origin.”
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