Trump inauguration donor Imaad Zuberi charged with obstruction of justice
California venture capitalist Imaad Zuberi was hit with obstruction of justice charges in New York in connection with his nearly $1 million donation to President Trump’s inauguration, according to Manhattan federal court papers unsealed Tuesday.
“Upon learning of the investigation, Zuberi took numerous steps, including reimbursing one source of those funds via a back-dated check, to obstruct the federal criminal investigation,” read the court papers.
The 49-year-old is also accused of deleting emails between himself and an unnamed foreign national who transferred $5.8 million to the account Zuberi used to fund the Presidential Inaugural Committee around the same time Zuberi made his own $900,000 donation, the documents say.
Zuberi — who pleaded guilty to charges of campaign finance violations and tax evasion last year in California — donated to Trump’s 2017 inaugural committee in December 2016 under the name of his company “Avenue Ventures.”
Yet Zuberi, who has also given money to Hillary Clinton, failed to disclose that the donation was actually funded by other sources, including someone identified as “Donor-1” in court papers and described as a United States national.
Zuberi “asked Donor-1 to make a substantial donation to the PIC, promising Donor-1, in return, exclusive access to certain inaugural events,” court papers read.
The unnamed donor cut a $50,000 check made out to Avenue Ventures, yet wrote “Inauguration 17” in the memo line, the documents state.
The donor later decided not to attend and asked for a refund — which Zuberi allegedly failed to give until Feb. 19 of this year, when the donor reminded Zuberi he was under federal investigation.
“Zuberi back-dated the refund check to February 1, 2019, in order to make it appear that Zuberi had returned Donor-1’s money before he learned of the SDNY Investigation into the source of funds for the $900,000 PIC donation,” the documents state.
In addition to deleting emails, following questioning from feds Zuberi allegedly contacted his email service provider to make sure his deleted emails “were not stored on a server,” the document says.
It was not immediately clear when Zuberi would appear in Manhattan court to face the new charges.
Defense attorney Thomas O’Brien declined to comment on the allegations.
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