Kamis, 20 Agustus 2020

Former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud relating to funding of US-Mexico border wall - ABC News

Steve Bannon, a former adviser to US President Donald Trump, has been arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud in relation to a fundraising campaign to support the building of the US-Mexico border wall.

The charges were contained in an indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court.

Prosecutors alleged that Mr Bannon and three others, Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea, "orchestrated a scheme to defraud hundreds of thousands of donors" in connection with the 'We Build the Wall' campaign that raised more than $25 million ($35 million) to help build the border wall.

The donors thought the money would go toward helping to build a border wall, prosecutors said but Mr Kolfage, whom they described as the public face and founder of the operation, received thousands of dollars and used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle.

Mr Bannon, through a non-profit organisation under his control, received over $US1 million ($1.4 million) from the fund, at least some of which he used to cover hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal expenses, the indictment said.

The indictment said those involved faked invoices and sham "vendor" arrangements, among other ways, to hide what was really happening.

A composite image of US President Donald Trump and Steve Bannon.
Mr Bannon worked with Donald Trump during the early stages of his Presidency.(AP/Reuters)

"While repeatedly assuring donors that Brian Kolfage, the founder and public face of We Build the Wall, would not be paid a cent, the defendants secretly schemed to pass hundreds of thousands of dollars to Mr Kolfage, which he used to fund his lavish lifestyle," said Audrey Strauss, the Acting US Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

We Build the Wall originally promoted a project for almost 5 kilometres of fence posts in South Texas that was ultimately built and largely funded by Fisher Industries, which has received about $US2 billion ($2.7 billion) in funding for wall contracts.

Mr Trump recently criticised that section of wall after it showed signs of erosion, saying it was "only done to make me look bad".

More to come.


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2020-08-20 14:03:00Z

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