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Steve Bannon Out on $5 Million Bail amid Arrest for Border Wall Fraud Case

August 21, 2020, 02.39 PM

NEW YORK, – The mastermind behind President Donald Trump’s successful 2016 presidential win Steve Bannon has been arrested for a border wall fraud case.

The former top Trump strategist was arrested along with three others, in a blow to the Republican president seeking re-election this November.

Steve Bannon and the three individuals are accused of defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors in a Mexico border wall fundraising campaign.

Read also: Trump’s Former Personal Lawyer Michael Cohen Set for Prison Release on Friday

Steve denied one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in addition to another count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, according to US media.

Trump’s ex-top strategist is currently out on a $5 million bail.

"This entire fiasco is to stop people who want to build the wall," he told reporters outside court, smiling broadly as he removed his face mask and got into a waiting car.

The online crowdfunding campaign known as "We Build the Wall" raised more than $25 million, prosecutors said, which the defendants promised would go towards the construction of a southern border barrier but which they instead siphoned off.

The arrest is the latest in a string of high-profile criminal probes into Trump's inner circle, and comes just months before the November vote in which the Republican hopes to win re-election.

The president aimed to distance himself from the plot, saying: "Don't know anything about the project at all."

"I think it's a very sad thing for Mr Bannon," Trump said, adding he felt "very badly" and he hasn't "been dealing with him for a long period".

Manhattan federal prosecutors said Bannon, the organization's founder Brian Kolfage, venture capitalist Andrew Badolato and owner of a pro-Trump energy drink company Timothy Shea, "received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donor funds from We Build the Wall, which they each used in a manner inconsistent with the organization's public representations".

Federal postal inspectors intercepted Bannon, 66, on a $35 million, 150-foot yacht off the coast of Connecticut, according to The New York Times.

The paper said the boat belonged to Guo Wengui, the exiled Chinese tycoon.

Read also: Indonesia, China Hold Meeting on Covid-19 in Hainan

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