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Rep. Paul Gosar Urges Treasury Secretary Mnuchin to Consider Sanctions Against Kuwaiti Officials Holding Foreign Businesswoman Hostage


WASHINGTON, Aug. 4, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Crowell & Moring announces that U.S. House of Representatives member Paul Gosar (R-AZ), an active member and leader within the House Freedom Caucus, has called upon US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to investigate and consider invoking sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Act against the Kuwaiti officials responsible for the wrongful prosecution of foreign businesswoman, Marsha Lazareva.

In calling for an investigation, Rep. Gosar joins U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), Ohio Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Pennsylvania Congresswoman Madeleine Dean (D-PA), who represents the district where Ms. Lazareva's mother and son are residents.

Ms. Lazareva spent 474 days in prison during which she was separated from her 4-year-old American son. The unjust detention and separation of Ms. Lazareva from her son was perpetrated by a small group of Kuwait officials and others who corrupted her judicial proceedings, violated her human rights and attempted to steal the significant profits she generated for investors in a private equity fund which she helped manage. The targets of possible U.S. imposed GMA sanctions would include top-level officials in the Kuwaiti Government and others behind the unfair Kuwait court hearings, forged documents and false accusations that led to her wrongful conviction.

"The Kuwait government has failed to adequately address these concerns and the United States of America should not turn a blind eye to allegations of improper conduct and a human rights abuse by a trusted ally in the Gulf Region," Congressman Gossar's letter states.

Ms. Lazareva's case has drawn international concern and been raised with Kuwait by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, among others.

"Senior Department of State officials, including the U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait, have engaged Kuwait officials on the wrongful detention of Ms. Lazareva," Gossar's letter adds.

A multinational team of prominent individuals has been working to secure Ms. Lazareva's freedom including Neil Bush, the son of President George H.W. Bush; Cherie Blair, a UK human rights attorney; Louie Freeh, the former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Ed Royce, the former Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; James Nicholson, the former U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs; and Pam Bondi, the former Attorney General for the State of Florida.

In May 2019, a petition was filed requesting an investigation into her unlawful detention and inhumane treatment with the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

Notwithstanding that in 2015 KGL Investment Company ("KGLI") filed commercial case to claim the balance of unpaid amount due under the advisory contract, Ms. Lazareva was detained in November 2017 on KPA's false allegation that KGLI had not performed services for this contract, and accusing her of embezzling public funds.

She was released on bail in February 2018, only to be convicted in May 2018 based on evidence since found to have been forged by a State Audit Bureau ("SAB") member. The SAB member, being the main witness on her case, has been recently convicted by the Court of Appeal and sentenced to 6 months in jail for forging documents used to convict her. She was also not allowed to present a defense. In addition, confirming no wrongdoing, both the Plenary Commercial Court and later in June 2019 the Court of Appeal issued a verdict that KGLI's work in the advisory contract was completed to full satisfaction of KPA and ordered KPA to pay KGLI the remaining balance due under the contract in the amount of KD 725,000 plus interest, completely rebutting KPA's false allegation that the services were never performed.

After spending over a year in prison, in May 2019, the Kuwait Court of Appeal vacated the conviction of Ms. Lazareva and Mr. Dashti and released Ms. Lazareva on bail.  Mr. Dashti remains in prison notwithstanding that conditions for release that were made by a court order last June to release him were met since then. Kuwait refuses to dismiss the false charges, lift a travel ban and allow them to go back to their lives and families.

 

Cision

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