US special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating a private consulting firm established in Israel and is linked to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Wall Street Journal reported.
In a report published on Monday, the newspaper cited individuals familiar with the case as saying that the firm, Wikistrat, was contracted to work for the UAE by lobbying the US to support a 10-month blockade imposed on Qatar by several Arab countries, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Wikistrat, a company based in Washington, DC that offers geopolitical analysis, was established in 2010 by Joel Zamel and Daniel Green.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Mueller, who is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 American elections, met Zamel and questioned him about his relationship with George Nader, who served as a political adviser to the UAE.
When asked about Zamel, Wikistrat said in a statement: “Joel is a bright young businessman, and Wikistrat has been privileged to serve several US government clients,” according to the Journal.
“Joel and Wikistrat have only a tenuous connection to the special counsel’s investigation and are cooperating fully,” the firm added in the statement.
The company’s lawyer, Marc Mukasey, said his clients are not the focus of Mueller’s probe, the WSJ reported.
The developments follow several reports showing that the UAE and Saudi Arabia have been working to lobby the US to support the blockade on Qatar.
Last month, the New York Times reported that Nader, who also presented himself as an adviser to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, pushed US President Donald Trump to fire Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who had several confrontations with Trump over critical foreign policy issues, namely Iran and the Gulf crisis.
Tillerson was fired late last month.