The chief resigned from the think-tank shortly after the case was leaked to the public.
The United States Justice Department has closed an investigation into former Brookings chief John R. Allen over alleged lobbying for Qatar, the New York Times (NYT) reported on Monday, citing the retired general’s lawyer.
“We have been informed by the Department of Justice National Security Division and the US attorney’s office for the Central District of California that the investigation of General John R. Allen (Ret.) has been closed and that no criminal charges will be brought against General Allen,” said David Schertler, Allen’s lawyer, as quoted by the NYT.
Schertler noted that no charges will be raised against Allen under the Foreign Agents Registration Act “or any other law”.
The case was first reported in June last year after documents, which appeared to be leaked, revealed how US federal court filings found alleged lobbying efforts by the retired four-star general to help Qatar influence US policy towards the illegal air, land and sea blockade it faced in 2017.
The embargo at the time was imposed by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt.
“It is deeply unfortunate, unfair and contrary to law that General Allen’s reputation and livelihood were wrongly damaged by the public release of confidential grand jury information,” Schertler said, as quoted by NYT.
Court papers had found that Allen played a key role in shifting the US’ stance during the rift, in which former President Donald Trump leaned towards the quartet against Doha.
US authorities accused Allen of lying about his role in an illegal foreign lobbying case on behalf of Qatar while withholding “incriminating” documents. Allen then resigned from Brookings just days after the case surfaced.
Foreign lobbying is illegal under US law, which stipulates that individuals working for a foreign government must register with the Department of Justice.
Some of the claims made against Allen include frequent meetings with Richard G. Olson, former US ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan. He was also accused of meeting with businessman Imaad Zuberi with regional links.
Olson pleaded guilty last year to federal charges over illegal foreign lobbying on behalf of Qatar.
Zuberi, also a well-known political donor, has also been charged with corruption and is currently serving a 12-year prison sentence. Allen had defended his actions by saying he attempted to prevent a regional war that would risk the lives of US troops.
Qatar hosts the US Al-Udeid Air Base, the largest in the region, where at least 10,000 troops are positioned.
Speaking to the Associated Press (AP) last year, Allen’s spokesperson Beau Phillips said his client “voluntarily cooperated with the government’s investigation into this matter” and that he had “not received a fee for his efforts”.
According to NYT, Phillips said that Trump’s national security adviser at the time Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster approved Allen’s trip to meet with Qataris at the height of the Gulf Cooperation Council crisis.
Meanwhile, an FBI agent’s application pointed to Allen agreeing to travel to Doha at Zuberi’s expense at a “speaker fee” of $20,000. However, Phillips said Allen never had an agreement in any form with Qatar nor individuals or entities linked to the Gulf state.
“Neither General Allen nor any entity with which he was or is affiliated ever received fees — directly or indirectly — from the Qatari government for his efforts. Brookings never received a contribution from Qatar or any Qatari government-related entities or individuals in connection with General Allen’s activities,” Phillips said, as quoted by the Times.