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Biden critic Gal Luft charged with failing to register as foreign agent and sanctions violations

Luft has emerged in recent months as a vocal critic of the Biden family.

July 11, 2023, 12:01 PM

A dual U.S.-Israeli citizen who has accused President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, of corruption has been charged by federal prosecutors in New York with failing to register as a foreign agent while working to advance the interests of China.

Gal Luft, 57, has also been charged with violating U.S. sanctions on Iran. He remains a fugitive.

According to the indictment, Luft paid an unnamed adviser to then-President Donald Trump to publicly support certain policies favorable to China.

In the weeks before the 2016 presidential election, Luft allegedly created a written "dialogue" between a Chinese national and the Trump adviser, in which Luft wrote the adviser's responses and included information that was favorable to China. The dialogue was then published in a Chinese newspaper online and sent to, among others, individuals in the United States, including a journalist and professors at multiple U.S. universities, the indictment said.

Shortly after the 2016 election, Luft and the Chinese national discussed possible roles the adviser might have in the Trump administration and also discussed the adviser taking a trip to China, according to the indictment. "[w]e are debating about his role in the new admin," Luft is quoted as saying. "There are all kinds of considerations ... We should talk ftf [face-to-face] as there can be a supremely unique opportunity for China."

Federal prosecutors also allege that Luft tried to broker illicit arms deals involving China and that he set up meetings between Iranian representatives and a Chinese energy company for the purpose of discussing oil deals.

"As alleged, Gal Luft, a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen and co-head of a Maryland think tank, engaged in multiple, serious criminal schemes," U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said of the allegations. "He subverted foreign agent registration laws in the United States to seek to promote Chinese policies by acting through a former high-ranking U.S. Government official; he acted as a broker in deals for dangerous weapons and Iranian oil; and he told multiple lies about his crimes to law enforcement."

PHOTO: Gal Luft in a photo posted to his Twitter profile.
Gal Luft in a photo posted to his Twitter profile.
Gal Luft/Twitter

Luft was arrested in connection with these charges in February in Cyprus, but fled after he was released on bail. While a fugitive, Luft recorded a video given to the New York Post, claiming his arrest was meant to stop him from appearing before congressional Republicans to answer questions about the Biden family.

Luft has emerged in recent months as a vocal critic of the Bidens, leveling unsubstantiated allegations of corruption against members of the first family. Rep. James Comer, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said on Fox News late Monday that he hoped to interview Luft as part of his investigation into the Biden family, and suggested that the Justice Department was leveraging its powers to target a critic of the president.

"There are a lot of questions here, and it's just amazing that the Department of Justice moves so quickly against some people," Comer said.

The criminal charges against Luft were filed under seal in 2022.

Luft defended himself on Twitter in February, saying that he had been arrested overseas and that the U.S. had requested his extradition -- an effort he framed as, "DOJ is trying to bury me to protect Joe,Jim&Hunter Biden."