The silhouette of Robert Mueller, former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and special counsel for the U.S. Department of Justice. (Photographer: Zach Gibson/Bloomberg)

Manafort Ally Agrees to Cooperate With U.S. After Guilty Plea

(Bloomberg) -- A former associate of Paul Manafort, who was charged Friday with failing to register in the U.S. as a foreign agent for his work lobbying on behalf of a Ukrainian political party, is a longtime international political operative who’s partnered with a Russian already indicted in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.

The charges against Sam Patten are spelled out in a criminal information, which often precedes a guilty plea. He’s scheduled to appear in federal court in Washington before U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson at 11 a.m. as part of a plea agreement, according to the court docket.

U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office referred the case to U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu in the District of Columbia, according William Miller, a spokesman for Liu, who declined to comment further on a pending case.

Patten has worked with Manafort and on Ukrainian campaigns, as well as in countries including Russia, Georgia, Iraq and Kazakhstan. He served in the State Department under George W. Bush, and reportedly worked on microtargeting operations with Cambridge Analytica.

He headed the Moscow office of the International Republican Institute in the early 2000s. A Russian IRI employee in those years, Konstantin Kilimnik, went on to work as a fixer for Manafort in Ukraine and is a business partner with Patten. Kilimnik has been indicted in absentia alongside Manfort on obstruction of justice charges the former Trump campaign chairman faces in Washington next month.

From 2014, Patten provided a “prominent” Ukrainian oligarch who isn’t named in court papers and his Opposition Bloc political party with lobbying and consulting services, according to the criminal information. A company Patten co-owned with a Russian national received more than $1 million for the work, the U.S. said.

As part of his lobbying work, he violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act by not disclosing the work to the U.S., prosecutors said.

Patten worked for multiple political parties and office-holders in Ukraine, according to his website. His work for Cambridge Analytica came during the 2014 election cycle, the Daily Beast reported in April. It was later adopted by "at least one major U.S. presidential candidate," the Daily Beast said. Patten told the publication that his work for Cambridge Analytica was separate from the work of his consulting firm.

He headed the IRI’s Moscow office from 2001 to 2004, and provided technical assistance to a range of political parties and non-governmental organizations, according to his website.

He also worked closely with the late Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, whose center-right party, the Union of Right Forces, pushed for free market and democratic reforms. From 2009 to 2011, Patten served as Eurasian program director at Freedom House, an advocacy group, where he continued to focus on Russian affairs, as well as those in the broader region.

In 2008, he was appointed as a senior adviser to the U.S. Undersecretary of State for Democracy and Global affairs and has worked as a legislative adviser and speechwriter to two U.S. senators, he said in his online biography.

Patten and Kilimnik are listed as officers of Begemot Ventures International LLC, a company incorporated in 2015, according to District of Columbia records. The company’s website describes it as "a strategic and political advisory firm that helps its clients win elections, strengthen political parities, build the right arguments before domestic and international audiences and achieve better results."

Manafort was convicted of federal tax and bank-fraud charges on Aug. 21 at a trial in Alexandria, Virginia. His money-laundering and illegal-lobbying trial is scheduled to start in Washington next month.

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