Trump Fund-Raiser Broidy Sues Qatar Over Hacks, Media Leaks

(Bloomberg) -- One of President Donald Trump’s top fund-raisers sued the nation of Qatar and a Washington lobbyist, blaming them for hacking his computers and leaking unflattering information to the media.

Los Angeles money manager Elliott Broidy claims Qatar engaged in “a sophisticated electronic warfare, espionage and disinformation campaign” to retaliate for his condemnation of the Middle Eastern nation, according to a complaint filed in Los Angeles Monday.

The hacks, which began in December and spanned several weeks, sought to punish Broidy for trying to frustrate Qatar’s multimillion-dollar lobbying efforts led by Washington attorney Nicolas Muzin to burnish its image in the U.S. capital and court Jewish leaders, Broidy claims.

Qatar and Muzin coordinated unflattering leaks to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News and other media outlets to depict Broidy as someone who used his influence in the Trump administration to enrich himself and affect policy, according to the complaint.

“I have been targeted because of my strong political views against Qatar’s state-sponsored terrorism and double dealing,” Broidy said in a statement.

Qatar has been under a 10-month blockade by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates for its alleged support for extremist political movements and funding of terrorists. The country has denied the allegations and refused to succumb to Gulf states’ demands that include the dismantling of Al Jazeera, the Doha-based news service.

A spokesman for the Qatari embassy in Washington, Jassim Al-Thani, said in a statement: “Mr. Broidy’s lawsuit is a transparent attempt to divert attention from U.S. media reports about his activities. His lawsuit is without merit or fact.”

Broidy said he runs businesses that have contracts valued at $200 million with the UAE to develop defense and counter-terrorism capabilities. He said he also has “entered into preliminary discussions with Saudi Arabia about providing similar capabilities.”

A deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee, Broidy has touted his influence in the Trump White House, according to people familiar with the matter.

‘Hostile Attack’

“We’re hoping to hold accountable those individuals who reached into the United States to conduct a hostile attack against a prominent U.S. citizen,” said Lee Wolosky, Broidy’s attorney at Boies Schiller Flexner LLP.

Qatar, Muzin, and his firm, Stonington Strategies LLC, violated the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, according to the lawsuit. They’re also accused of civil conspiracy, invasion of privacy and possessing stolen property.

“Mr. Broidy’s lawsuit is an obvious attempt to draw attention away from his controversial work,” Muzin said in a statement. “I am proud of the work my firm has conducted with Qatar and look forward to continuing to support peaceful dialogue and progress in the Middle East.”

The case is Broidy Capital Management v. State of Qatar, 18-cv-2421, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

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