Prosecutors of the state of New York’s Southern District on Monday filed charges against Lt. Col. (ret.) Prof. Gal Luft, an Israeli-American, was accused of acting as a foreign agent and violating U.S. sanctions on Iran. He was arrested in Cyprus last February on arms trafficking charges but was released from prison and had since disappeared.
Luft, who serves as the chairman and founder of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security in Washington, was charged with eight offenses referred to by the prosecution as “multiple international criminal schemes.”
These include acting as an unregistered foreign agent, arms trafficking, violating American sanctions against Iran, and making false statements to American agents in the service of China. If found guilty on all eight counts, he will likely spend over 100 years in an American prison.
The indictment against Luft, who claims in his defense that he fell victim to an attempt to cover up a corruption scandal linking U.S. President Joe Biden and his son Hunter to the Chinese government, represents another development in a long-standing affair. "Luft 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,” the indictment read.
“He acted as a broker in deals for dangerous weapons and Iranian oil, and he told multiple lies about his crimes to law enforcement," it adds. The indictment also includes quotes from conversations Luft had with his partners, various contacts, and authorities.
In the first count, the indictment claims Luft "conspired with others in an effort to act within the United States to advance the interests of the People’s Republic of China.” The official, whose name is not mentioned in the indictment, was an adviser to President Donald Trump's election campaign and later served in his administration.
Luft is accused of recruiting him and paying him on behalf of his Chinese employers. Even before the official joined the Trump administration, Luft allegedly promised his Chinese contact that his acquaintance with the official would be valuable in the future. The additional charges against Luft include working as a middleman between arms manufacturers in China and countries such as Kenya and the UAE and attempting to violate American sanctions on Iran by selling Iranian oil to third parties.
The indictment states that Luft tried to convince the Chinese that Israel was not suitable as a mediator in arms deals with Qatar because it had the same "problem" as the Qataris do with their "uncle" (the United States).
The indictment quotes him as saying, " Need a third party. I will activate.” In his role as an illicit arms deals facilitator, Luft allegedly operated with commissions as payment and traveled worldwide to obtain and deliver the required documentation to secure his deals.
During his questioning by authorities, Luft was asked about his involvement in arms trafficking, but he allegedly made several false statements, claiming that he didn’t seek to engage in or profit from arms deals but was simply "asked by a bona fide arms dealer, an Israeli friend, to inquire with a company I knew if they had an item and what would be the price of an item." In reality, the prosecutors said, Luft was very active and acted to broker many arms deals in several different countries for profit.
According to the documents filed in court, Luft's presence in Cyprus wasn’t coincidental, and he hid there in anticipation of his indictment. In February, Luft was arrested by Cypriot authorities at the request of the U.S. but escaped after being released on bail while awaiting extradition.
His whereabouts have remained unknown since then, despite remaining active on his Twitter account. He embarked on a campaign to defend himself, which included hiring a lawyer, appearing in interviews with Israeli media and pro-China newspapers, and even speaking out against his persecution in a video published by the New York Post.
“I, who volunteered to inform the US government about a potential security breach and about compromising information about a man vying to be the next president, am now being hunted by the very same people who I informed — and may have to live on the run for the rest of my life,” He said in his video. “I’m not a Republican. I’m not a Democrat. I have no political motive or agenda … I did it out of deep concern that if the Bidens were to come to power, the country would be facing the same traumatic Russia Collusion scandal — only this time with China. Sadly, because of the DOJ’s cover-up, this is exactly what happened.”
He went on to say that he had warned the government about potential risks to the 2020 elections. "Ask yourself, who is the real criminal in this story?” he said. He claimed that he had provided the FBI with information about a meeting that Joe and Hunter Biden had in Washington with official representatives of CEFC and presented what he called evidence of financial payment to members of the Biden family in exchange for their connections with the FBI and the use of the Biden name to promote their business.