- An Israeli American businessman who paid former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos $10,000 during a meeting in Israel last year denied that he is a spy.
- Papadopoulos told federal investigators that he believed that the businessman, Charles Tawil, was working for a foreign government.
- Tawil paid Papadopoulos shortly before the ex-Trump aide was arrested for lying to the FBI.
An energy consultant who gave George Papadopoulos $10,000 in cash during a meeting at an Israeli hotel last year denied that he is a foreign agent.
The payment was revealed in a court filing Special Counsel Robert Mueller submitted Friday.
Papadopoulos told investigators “about $10,000 in cash he received from a foreign national whom he believed was likely an intelligence officer of a foreign country (other than Russia),” the filing said.
“The defendant has stated that he kept that money in a safe pending his sentencing in this case and Counsel for the defendant has consented to the imposition of this fine amount,” it continued.
Papadopoulos received the money from Charles Tawil, an Israeli American businessman who has worked as a consultant for companies in Africa and the Middle East.
Papadopoulos faces sentencing next month for lying to the FBI about his contacts with a Maltese professor who claimed to know that Russia had access to Hillary Clinton’s emails. Mueller’s filing recommended that Papadopoulos be sentenced to between zero and six months in jail and to be fined up to $9,500.
Sources familiar with Tawil and Papadopoulos’s interactions told The Daily Caller News Foundation that Tawil traveled to the Greek island of Mykonos in July 2017 to meet Papadopoulos and his now-wife, Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos. (RELATED: Papadopoulos Told Feds He Received $10,000 From Foreign National He Believed Was A Spy)
Tawil then invited Papadopoulos to Israel, where the two met in a hotel room in Tel Aviv. Sources familiar with the meeting said Papadopoulos gave the $10,000 in cash to an attorney in Greece before traveling back to the U.S.
Papadopoulos was arrested upon arriving at Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C., on July 27, 2017.
Mangiante Papadopoulos has referred to the mysterious meeting during TV interviews and told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence about Tawil.
She included Tawil as one of a cast of “shady characters” who may have been attempting to set her husband up in a sting operation.
Among those characters is Stefan Halper, an FBI informant who invited Papadopoulos to London in September 2016. Halper paid Papadopoulos $3,000, ostensibly to write a policy paper about energy issues in the Mediterranean Sea. (RELATED: Mueller Claims Papadopoulos Hindered Russia Probe, Recommends Up To Six Months In Jail)
In an email sent on Monday afternoon, Tawil denied that he is a foreign agent. He also said that his business arrangement with Papadopoulos fell apart because the former Trump aide acted “unprofessionally and unethically.”
Tawil told TheDCNF that he is “sure the FBI have the means to know very well who [I am], and that I am not an foreign agent.”
“I am a pro Trump citizen mainly because I correctly predicted that he would stand up against Chinese future hegemony,” he said through email.
Tawil said that he “tried to help” Papadopoulos by bringing him in on a new consulting business he had created for the petroleum services industry.
“Unfortunately he very fast disappointed me and the potential first customer (a private company). He acted very unprofessionally and unethically. That was it,” Tawil told TheDCNF.
Tawil did not respond to follow up questions about his work with Papadopoulos and why he believes the Trump adviser behaved unethically.
David Ha’ivri, an Israeli activist and author, told TheDCNF said that he introduced Tawil and Papadopoulos “at my own initiative” to facilitate a business deal involving an oil and gas project in the Aegean and Mediterranean seas.
“I thought that they might find common ground and that together we might form a consultancy firm in this area. George had not gone on to join the Trump administration, so I thought that with his background he could be a good candidate for business prospects,” Ha’ivri said in an email.
“When I first reached out to George he seemed to me a good person to be in touch with, as he was a young guy who had been part of the successful Trump for president campaign,” he said, adding that they discussed consulting work for gas and petroleum infrastructure companies operating in the Aegean Sea, Cyprus and Middle East.
Ha’ivri said he did not know that Tawil had paid Papadopoulos in Israel. But he told TheDCNF that Tawil had secured a $10,000-a-month consulting agreement with his client.
“The retainer would go firstly to cover [George’s] needs as he said that he had financial problems,” Ha’ivri said. “This first job was to help preparing bidding document to Exxon Mobil for their project in Cyprus and help negotiating a subcontracting deal there.”
Ha’ivri said that the deal quickly fell apart, blaming Papadopoulos’ “immaturity.”
“After that the whole story fell apart. Charles left back to Washington and the story was over,” he said.
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