SPAC pulled, bail listening to in UAE case modified

Thomas Barrack, Executive Chairman and CEO, Colony Capital, participates in a panel discussion during the annual Milken Institute Global Conference at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on April 28, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California.

Michael Kovac | Getty Images

A federal judge in Los Angeles on Friday ordered the release on a $250 million secured bond of Thomas Barrack, the private equity investor charged with illegally lobbying his close friend ex-President Donald Trump for the United Arab Emirates.

The order requires the release bond — which is among the highest ever set in the world — to be secured by $5 million cash, another $21.23 million in securities and Barrack’s home in California.

Barrack and his co-defendant Matthew Grimes, a 27-year-old business associate, had been in jail since Tuesday, when they were arrested in Los Angeles on an indictment issued in Brooklyn, New York, federal court.

Grimes earlier Friday was ordered released on a $5 million bond. Neither he nor Barrack were in court before Judge Patricia Donohue, having waived their right to appear.

Donohue ordered Barrack to surrender his passport, to be fitted with an electronic bracelet, and be subject to GPS monitoring and a curfew.

Barrack also was ordered to stay in the company of his lawyers until at least his and Grimes’ arraignment Monday in Brooklyn.

He also cannot transfer any funds overseas, is barred from transferring more than $50,000 except for attorneys fees, and is prohibited from trading securities without written permission from prosecutors. His travel is restricted to the federal Central District of California, and to the Southern and Eastern districts of New York, which encompass New York City, Long Island, and several counties to the north of the Big Apple.

Barrack was identified as a billionaire on the Forbes richest list in 2013, but since then has not appeared on that roster.

Earlier Friday, Falcon Acquisition, a special purpose acquisition company backed by Barrack, told the Securities and Exchange Commission it is withdrawing its registration statement with the agency “because the company has elected to abandon” planned transactions.

The transactions had included an initial public offering of 25 million shares to raise $250 million for Falcon Acquisition, which was formed by Barrack’s family office Falcon Peak, and TI Capital.

Falcon Acquisition, which had planned to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange, had said it was targeting tech-driven businesses as candidates for mergers.

A lawyer for Falcon Peak did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment. 

Barrack and Grimes originally were due to have their bail hearing in Los Angeles on Monday.

But that was moved up to Friday after prosecutors reached a deal on bail conditions with defense lawyers.

Prosecutors earlier in the week had asked at Barrack’s first court appearance in LA on Tuesday that he be detained until at least he appears in court in Brooklyn for another hearing because of the risk that he could flee to avoid facing the charges. Barrack holds Lebanese citizenship and has a private jet.

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Barrack, who was chairman of Trump’s 2017 inauguration fund, is accused with Grimes and UAE national Rashid Sultan Rashid Al Malik Alshahhi of secretly advancing Emirates’ interests at the direction of senior officials of the oil-rich Gulf country. Prosecutors said the three influenced the foreign policy positions of Trump’s 2016 campaign, and continued that effort during Trump’s presidency through April 2018.

Barrack also is charged with obstruction of justice and making multiple false statements during a June 2019 interview with federal law enforcement agents.

The indictment noted that Barrack at the same time informally advised American officials on Middle East policy, and sought appointment to a senior role in the U.S. government, including as special envoy to the Middle East.

Alshahhi, 43, remains at large.

Barrack stepped down last year as CEO of Colony Capital, a private equity firm he founded, and as its executive chairman in April.

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