WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors have charged a California businessman who was a top fund-raiser for President Trump in connection with a foreign influence operation that included lobbying the administration to help Malaysian and Chinese interests.
The fund-raiser, Elliott Broidy, 63, was charged with a single count of conspiring to violate foreign lobbying laws, according to a court filing that became public on Thursday.
Prosecutors from the Justice Department’s public integrity section and its election crimes branch accused Mr. Broidy of accepting $6 million from an unnamed foreign client to lobby administration officials to end a federal investigation into the looting of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad fund, also known as 1MDB, and to win the extradition of a Chinese national from the United States.
While the foreign client is not identified, people familiar with the case said it was the Malaysian financier Jho Low, who federal authorities say masterminded a scheme to loot 1MDB.
Mr. Broidy had been a top Republican fund-raiser for years, but he had retreated from politics under a shadow after pleading guilty in 2009 in an unrelated pension fund bribery case.
After Mr. Trump emerged as the Republican presidential nominee in 2016, Mr. Broidy became among the first major donors to throw his support to the political outsider at a time when most elite Republican donors were staying away. And Mr. Broidy, who owns a defense contracting firm, had seemed positioned to become an influential figure in Washington following Mr. Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton.
Mr. Broidy marketed his connection to the new administration to politicians, business executives and governments around the world, including some with unsavory records, and won big contracts for his defense firm from the United Arab Emirates and other countries.
While Mr. Broidy arranged meetings and public affairs efforts in Washington that were intended to help clients of his defense firm, the charge against him is not related to his defense company or its clients.
Rather, it stems from his arrangement with Mr. Low, and other Americans paid by him, some of whom were charged previously. Those include Nickie Lum Davis, a political fund-raiser who pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.
The charge against Mr. Broidy was detailed in a criminal information, which often is filed in cases in which a guilty plea has been entered. Mr. Broidy’s representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.