Federal prosecutors in Washington, D.C. have taken over a criminal investigation into whether former Obama White House counsel Gregory Craig failed to register as a foreign agent after the case was moved from New York in January, the New York Times reported Monday.
The decision to move the case from the Southern District of New York to D.C. comes as the Justice Department suggested it would step up prosecution of illegal foreign lobbying cases.
Craig faces allegations that he failed to register as a lobbyist for the Ukrainian government for work he did in 2012. Ukraine hired Craig and a team of attorneys from Skadden to write a report whitewashing the prosecution of one of the government’s top political opponents.
The New York Times reported that two other supposed subjects of the investigation — lobbyist Tony Podesta and Mercury Public Affairs — will remain with Manhattan federal prosecutors.
Skadden reached a settlement in January with the Justice Department over charges that it lied to the Foreign Agents Registration Act unit over the case. The firm agreed to pay $4.6 million to settle the charges and to retroactively register as a foreign agent.
The Justice Department’s National Security Division chief John Demers referenced the Craig case after giving remarks about the decision to beef up enforcement of illegal foreign lobbying.
“The reason why [Skadden] was on the hook is, after the firm got an inquiry from the FARA unit, it then went to the partner who was in charge of this matter and asked about the inquiry, and based on his representations then made a series of representations to the Justice Department that were not accurate,” Demers was quoted as saying.