LOBBYING TRACKER

PRESENTED BY

DATAPOINTS

$0

LOBBYING SPEND (2018)

0

LOBBYING/PR FIRMS

0

REGISTERED AGENTS

AL-MONITOR
LOBBYING RANK

#10 (tie)

SGR Government Affairs and Lobbying
(for Agility Public Warehousing Company)

Hired: July 2019

NEW Supplemental
(Oct. 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020)

In the six-month period ending March 31, SGR Government Relations & Lobbying was paid $180,000 by Kuwait-based logistics company Agility. Lobbyists from the firm met with 11 journalists for Agility.

Tricuro
(for Marsha Lazareva)

Hired: Aug. 2019
Contract: $35,000/month

NEW Supplemental
(Oct. 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020)

London-based Sanglier Media paid Tricuro $70,000 in the six-month period ending March 31 to coordinate PR and media relations efforts in support of Marsha Lazareva, the former CEO of Kuwait-based private equity firm KGL Investment who was convicted by a Kuwaiti court last year of swindling investors.

Fahmy Hudome International
(for KGL Investment)

Hired: March 2019
2019 fees: $150,000

NEW Q1 domestic lobbying termination

Fahmy Hudome International stopped lobbying for Kuwaiti private equity firm KGL Investment, which wants the United States to pressure Kuwait for the release of its former CEO, Marsha Lazareva, on March 1. The firm was paid $20,000 in the first quarter to lobby Congress and the State Department on “human rights, civil liberties and civil rights” related to Lazareva’s case.

Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan
(for KGL Investment)

Hired: Feb. 2019

NEW Q1 domestic lobbying filing

Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan reported no Q1 lobbying activity and less than $5,000 in fees for Kuwaiti private equity firm KGL Investment.

Squire Patton Boggs
Crowell & Moring subcontractor
(for KGL Investment)

Hired: Aug. 2019
2019 fees: $230,000

NEW Q1 domestic lobbying termination

Squire Patton Boggs stopped lobbying for Kuwaiti private equity firm KGL Investment, which wants the United States to pressure Kuwait for the release of its former CEO, Marsha Lazareva. Squire Patton Boggs, which was paid less than $5,000 in the first quarter and did not lobby in Q1, stopped lobbying for KGL Investment Jan. 1.

R & B Strategies
Crowell & Moring subcontractor
(for KGL Investment)

Hired: Feb. 2019
2019 fees: $140,000

NEW Q1 domestic lobbying termination

R&B Strategies stopped working for Kuwaiti private equity fund KGL Investment Jan. 2. The firm was paid $45,000 in the first quarter of 2020 and disclosed lobbying Congress and the State Department regarding “Defense contacts on Human Rights.”

Venable
(for Agility Public Warehousing Company)

Hired: March 2019
2019 fees: $180,000

NEW Q1 domestic lobbying filing

The Kuwait-based Agility Public Warehousing Company paid Venable $60,000 to lobby Congress on the annual defense authorization bill. 

Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck
(for KGL Logistics)

Hired: Aug. 2018
2019 fees: $440,000

NEW Q1 domestic lobbying filing

Kuwait-based KGL Logistics paid Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck $110,000 to lobby the State Department, Defense Department and Congress on government contracting issues.

Victory Coalition Strategies
(for Port Fund)

Hired: Jan.2020

NEW Q1 domestic lobbying filing

Victory Coalition Strategies was paid $30,000 by the Port Fund, a Cayman Islands-based product of KGL Investment, to lobby Congress on “issues related to bank holds on funds,” which is a possible reference to nearly $500 million in investor funds that were frozen by the United Arab Emirates and released in early 2019.

American Defense International
(for Agility Public Warehousing Company)

Hired: Oct. 2019
2019 fees: $80,000

NEW Q1 domestic lobbying filing

Agility Public Warehousing Company, a Kuwait-based logistics company, paid American Defense International $40,000 to lobby Congress on “logistics and managed services software.”

  • Hired: 2019  
  • 2019 fees: $20,000
  • Latest Filing  
  • Registered agents

    • Ralph Caccia
      Partner and former Assistant US Attorney
    • Kevin Muhlendorf
      Partner and former assistant chief of the fraud section of the Justice Department’s securities and financial fraud unit

Lobbyist A-list puts Kuwait on spot over businesswoman's arrest

Editor

Julian Pecquet

@JPecquet_ALM

jpecquet@al-monitor.com
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Julian Pecquet is the Editor of Special Projects for Al-Monitor, where he supervises the award-winning Lobbying Tracker as well as managing long-form stories. Before that he covered the US Congress for Al-Monitor. Prior to joining Al-Monitor, Pecquet led global affairs coverage for the political newspaper The Hill.

Posted: September 11, 2019

An A-list of former US and international officials is threatening a global backlash against Kuwait over its arrest of a Russian businesswoman with ties to the United States.

Kuwaiti private equity group KGL Investment hired no fewer than six firms between February and April to lobby Washington for the release of former chief executive Marsha Lazareva, who was arrested last year on embezzlement charges related to the firm's Cayman Islands-registered Port Fund. Lazareva, whose mother and young son live in the United States, spent 470 days in jail before being released on bail in June.

Members of some of the world's most powerful political families have taken on the case, including Neil Bush, son of the late President George H.W. Bush; former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's wife Cherie Blair; and Tatyana Yumasheva, the daughter of the late former Russian President Boris Yeltsin. In addition, KGL has hired law firms Crowell & Moring, Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan and Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, along with lobby shops Fahmy Hudome International and Ballard Partners to encourage Congress to consider sanctions against Kuwait under the Global Magnitsky Act. Crowell & Moring in turn hired R & B Strategies, the lobbying shop started by former Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., after his 2018 defeat and paid it $70,000 in the first half of this year.

Lazareva's army of advocates “share my desire to help Kuwait from suffering international reputational damage that continues to threaten your great country,” Bush wrote to Minister of Foreign Affairs Sabah al-Khalid Al Sabah in March ahead of an eight-member delegation in March. “I personally have tremendous respect for you and Kuwait, as does the entire Bush family. I know that you would like to amicably resolve this matter.”

All told, KGL Investment paid out a total of $750,000 in the first half of the year on more than a dozen registered agents, including former FBI director Louis Freeh, President Donald Trump's former Florida lobbyist Brian Ballard and former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. Former House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., now a policy director with Brownstein Hyatt, accompanied the March delegation but is not registered to lobby on the account.

The pressure campaign has prompted a handful of US lawmakers to ask Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to consider sanctions against several members of Kuwait's ruling Al Sabah family. But it’s gained little traction beyond that, with Trump inviting Emir Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber Al Sabah to the White House on Sept. 12 to “further strengthen our substantial economic and security ties.”

The Lazareva case has dominated Kuwait-related lobbying for more than a year. After the United Arab Emirates' central bank ordered the freezing of $496 million in Port Fund assets held at Dubai’s state-owned Noro Bank in November 2017 in cooperation with Kuwaiti authorities, the Port Fund hired Squire Patton Boggs, Crowell & Moring, Fahmy Hudome International and Brownstein Hyatt to advocate for the funds' release.

The Port Fund has paid the firms more than $2.8 million from the time they were first hired in July and August 2018. Lobbying contracts with Crowell & Moring, Fahmy Hudome International and Brownstein Hyatt were terminated between February and March 2019 after the UAE released the funds.

A separate KGL entity, KGL Logistics, continues to retain Crowell & Moring and Brownstein Hyatt to lobby regarding its government contracts with the US military. The firm signed a new $1.4 billion deal with the Pentagon in January 2018 to feed US troops in the Middle East that has come under scrutiny over KGL's work with a US-sanctioned Iranian partner. KGL Logistics spent $360,000 on lobbying in 2018 and $340,000 in the first half of 2019.

Meanwhile, another Kuwaiti logistics firm, the Agility Public Warehousing Company, has hired a flurry of lobbyists in its intensifying legal and public relations fight against KGL Logistics in US court. Agility is being sued for sending whistleblower letters to US officials accusing its rival of violating sanctions against Iran. Two of Agility’s law firms in the case, Quinn Emanuel and Skadden Arps, registered as foreign agents for Agility last month along with SGR Government Relations and Lobbying.

Agility previously hired Venable in March and paid the firm $50,000 in the second quarter to lobby Congress on the annual defense authorization bill. Former Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., is one of three registered agents on the account.

Separately, Kuwait's Al Arfaj group hired the Sonoran Policy Group for $1.2 million to provide “promotion and counsel” to the firm. Sonoran's three registered agents on the account will work on the disputed neutral zone between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, whose Wafra and Khafji oil fields can produce 500,000 barrels a day but have been shut down for several years amid a spat between the two countries.

HIGHLIGHTS

No active lobbying

 

$0

Total lobbying and PR spending for 2018

 

 

WINS
  • Sanctions campaign tied to legal dispute fails to take off
  • US pressure campaign against Iran encourages resolution of oil dispute with Saudi Arabia
  • Pentagon arms sales continue
LOSSES
  • Right-wing media echo anti-Kuwait lobby claims
  • Members of Congress threaten sanctions over businesswoman's arrest
  • Logistics contract with US military comes under scrutiny for ties to sanctioned Iranian firm

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