The arrest of Russian businesswoman Marsha Lazareva has attracted global attention. The arrest comes after the Kuwait government accused Marsha and her colleague of embezzlement of funds and corruption. Lazareva is one of Kuwait and Gulf Link top executives, the company that handles supply and logistics to the United States Army in Kuwait, Syria, Iraq, and Jordan. The KGL has, in the past, been accused of engaging in illegal and corrupt dealings, and the recent one involving the company executive was a big blow.
However, the international community is concerned about how the Kuwait government is handling the process, and therefore, KGL has spent millions of dollars in lobbying effort to have Marsha Lazareva released. They are pushing for justice as there is a concern as to whether the proper legal mechanism was followed before confining Marsha with a 10-year sentence plus hard labor.
KGL Investment Company and the Port Fund, which is an investment it manages, spent $2.5 million on Washington lobbying in the first quarter of the year – even major American companies such as Verizon and AT&T contributed to lobbying. Port Fund shelled about $1.1 million to retain former senate majority leader Trent Lott and Bret Boyles of Squire Patton Boggs.
The remaining amount was spent through Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Crowell and Moring, Fahmy Hudome International, and Louis Freeh of Freeh Sporkin and Sullivan (Former FBI director) who registered to lobby for the first time as part of the work.
Kuwait Gulf and Link Company added more lobbyists recently, bringing on Brian Ballard, who is a top fundraiser for President Donald Trump’s campaigns and other three lobbyists. The lobbying plans are focused on getting around $500 million in KGL investment funds that were frozen by the United Arab Emirates. While for the other amount is to secure the release of Marsha Lazareva and Saed Dashti, who is a former member of the company’s board of directors.
Both were convicted on embezzlement charges by a Kuwait court last year, and they are appealing their cases. However, the case is still ongoing after their convictions were thrown out a while back.
World Influential Figures Involved
The arrest of Marsha Lazareva is an interesting case that has attracted powerful names around the globe lobbying for her release. The case has influential individuals such as Neil Bush, the son of former President George H.W. Bush, US ambassador to Kuwait, President Donald Trump, Former British Prime minister Tony Blair, and many other officials from the U.S., Britain, and Russia.
The lobbying plan to secure the release of Marsha Lazareva got a boost when American and Russia intervened. Russia is concerned about her release for she is her citizen, and on the other hand, she has a green card, and her son is a U.S. citizen. So, it’s clear there are the United States and Russian interests. The lobbying of both countries getting involved, and bearing in mind their influence; the Marsha case may have the Kuwait government rethinking about their earlier sentence.
The lobbying effort to have Marsha Lazareva is one of the most fascinating and compelling cases in the Middle East that will never be forgotten. The push for the release of Marsha shows there is something more than the release these countries are interested in. Let’s wait and see whether the Kuwait government will lose its stance for the release of KGL top executives on bail or to have the conviction reversed and stay like that.
Interesting related article: “What is Justice?“