Trump pardons Elliott Broidy with ties to 1MDB

Broidy also admits his involvement in pushing for the extradition of Chinese billionaire Guo from the US

By HARIZAH KAMEL / Pic AFP

FORMER Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy, who had ties to the illegal lobbying of the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal, has been pardoned by US President Donald Trump, in his final hours in office.

Broidy, who is among the 143 individuals who were granted presidential pardons and commutations by Trump yesterday, pleaded guilty to accepting millions to illegally lobby the Trump administration to help fugitive Malaysian businessman Jho Low end a federal investigation into the 1MDB scandal, during a hearing presided by US district Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in October last year.

Broidy also admitted his involvement in pushing for the extradition of Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui from the US.

Guo was known to be an ally of Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon, who was also on Trump’s clemency list and received a full pardon.

According to prosecutors, Broidy also illegally cashed in on his connections by plotting to help Low in 2017 when he was a top fundraiser for Trump and the Republican National Committee (RNC) in 2016.

Broidy admitted that Honolulu businesswoman Nickie Mali Lum Davis was the one who set him up with Low, whom he later met in Bangkok, Thailand.

In court papers, he said he simultaneously tried to arrange a golf date between Trump and former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak as well as trying to help Low in his goal of arranging for the removal of Guo.

Low initially paid US$6 million (RM24.24 million) to Broidy and promised US$75 million more if he succeeded in persuading the Justice Department to abandon the 1MDB case.

The plot came to nothing and Low was indicted on charges, which he denied any wrongdoing, of conspiring to launder billions of dollars embezzled from 1MDB in 2018, the same year Broidy stepped down from his position in the RNC due to his extramarital affair.

As part of Broidy’s plea bargain, he agreed to forfeit US$6.6 million and face as much as five years in prison. He is one of several Trump aides to be arrested or convicted of crimes.