US indicts Biden-family whistleblower
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has unsealed criminal charges against the co-director of a Maryland think tank – a so-called whistleblower, who accused President Joe Biden’s family of taking bribes – saying he illegally trafficked weapons and operated as an unregistered agent of the Chinese government.
Gal Luft, a dual US-Israeli citizen who has advised the US Energy Security Council, was arrested in Cyprus in February and fled after being released on bail pending extradition proceedings, the DOJ said on Monday. The fugitive co-director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security faces an eight-count indictment on allegations that he brokered illegal arms deals, violated US sanctions against Iran, represented Chinese interests without registering as a foreign agent, and lied to federal investigators.
Luft “engaged in multiple serious criminal schemes,” US Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement. “He subverted foreign agent registration laws in the US to seek to promote Chinese policies by acting through a former high-ranking US government official. He acted as a broker in deals for dangerous weapons and Iranian oil, and he told multiple lies about his crimes to law enforcement.”
Four of the eight charges against Luft carry maximum prison terms of 20 years each. The other four carry penalties of up to five years in prison.
Luft, 57, has claimed that Biden and members of the president’s family received improper payments from individuals linked to Beijing-controlled energy company CEFC and Chinese military intelligence. He submitted information on those allegations to the FBI and DOJ in March 2019, about a month before Biden announced that he was running for president.
Instead of fully investigating the accusations, as promised by federal prosecutors, the DOJ decided to “shoot the messenger,” Luft said. He called the case against him a politically motivated “witch hunt.”
US Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), one of the conservative lawmakers who has relied on Luft as a whistleblower witness, said on Sunday that the DOJ charged the longtime energy analyst to silence him. “He’s literally fleeing for his life right now,” Johnson said in a Fox News interview. “He’s on the run. He’s an important witness. He needs to be granted immunity to be able to testify and tell his story.”