AP NEWS

Firm tied to political donor to pay $110M in federal probe

May 23, 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) — A payment processor run by a prominent political donor will pay $110 million to settle U.S. charges the company knowingly processed transactions for merchants engaging in frauds.

The Federal Trade Commission announced this week that Allied Wallet, its chief executive Ahmad “Andy” Khawaja and two other senior company officers had agreed to settle charges they participated in numerous scams.

The federal probe stemmed in part from a 2018 investigation by The Associated Press that showed Khawaja’s company had helped pornographers, shady debt collectors and offshore gamblers access the international banking system, often by using dummy foreign corporations and fake websites to disguise the underlying business. The reporting was based on thousands of internal company records obtained by the AP.

Khawaja, Allied Wallet and top executives have contributed at least $6 million to Democratic and Republican candidates and groups. The donations earned Khawaja access to Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign and a post-election Oval Office visit with President Donald Trump.

Allied Wallet did not immediately respond to a call and email seeking comment Thursday. Following the AP’s reporting last year, Khawaja had denied wrongdoing through a company publicist and insisted that any suggestion Allied Wallet had processed fraudulent online transactions was “100 percent false.”

Court records indicate Khawaja will forfeit a multimillion-dollar mansion in Los Angeles to the government, but the remainder of the judgment against him will be suspended because of his inability to pay.

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