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Lobbyist Indicted for Murky Dealings with Sudan

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Lobbyist Indicted for Murky Dealings with Sudan

Posted by Laura Heaton on October 27, 2009

Lobbyist Indicted for Murky Dealings with Sudan

The ruling regime in Khartoum, headed by an indicted war criminal, must be offering up a pretty penny to Washington lobbyists.

A couple of them have recently been ensnared by allegations that they’ve sought to represent the blacklisted government, despite U.S. sanctions against Sudan. But today, for lobbyist and former State Department official Robert Cabelly, the gig is up.

The U.S. Justice Department unsealed an indictment for Cabelly this afternoon, charging him with conspiracy to violate the Sudanese sanctions regulations and to act as an unregistered agent of a foreign power, violating the Sudanese sanctions regulations, money laundering, passport fraud, and making false statements.

He is accused of negotiating business deals for the Sudanese government between 2005 and 2007, without seeking U.S. government approval as required according to the sanctions regulations. To the contrary, the Justice Department alleges that Cabelly misrepresented his dealings with the Sudanese government, going so far as concealing his travel by misusing U.S. passports. Cabelly, the last U.S. lobbyist for Sudan, claimed that he dropped Sudan as a client in 2006 under pressure from activists and members of Congress.

Cabelly also allegedly served as an intermediary between Sudanese government officials, oil company executives, and a foreign oil company, even at one point directing the foreign company to deposit a payment of $180,000 to his bank account in the Cook Islands.

Cabelly, who worked on African affairs at the State Department during the Reagan, first Bush, and Clinton administrations, has long been regarded among Sudan watchers as a behind-the-scenes menace since leaving public office and setting up shop on K Street at C/R International LLC. As Sam Bell aptly remarked on Twitter: “The bigger point in all this – Khartoum thinks the road to normalized relations with the US runs down K Street.”


Photo: Sudanese President Bashir and supporters.