George Nader, the adviser to United Arab Emirates Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, commonly called MBZ, has reportedly played an important role in shaping US policy in the Middle East for decades.
Nader has been described as a “shadowy” figure who travels extensively throughout the Middle East, reportedly serving as a means for backchannel communications between the US government, Israel and its sworn enemies – Syria, Iran and the Lebanese militia Hezbollah.
Keep readinglist of 4 items
Reports say Nader was present at a December 2016 meeting between bin Zayed and senior Trump advisers Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner.
Nader has also reportedly testified to a grand jury in the Mueller investigation that he was present at a January 2017 meeting in the Seychelles between officials from the UAE, Russia and Erik Prince, billionaire founder of mercenary firm Blackwater who members of the US Congress have questioned for possibly representing Trump at the meeting.
But MBZ’s former adviser has a dark history of child abuse. Nader has used his international visits to import child pornography since at least 1985, according to court testimony from one of his defence attorneys, pled guilty to child pornography charges in 1991 and has been convicted of committing sex acts with 10 underage boys in Europe.
The 58-year-old, who has largely remained out of the public eye since his career began, has become an integral part of the US investigation into alleged foreign meddling in American politics.
Nader is reportedly being questioned over his involvement in arranging meetings between US President Donald Trump’s team and representatives of the UAE and Russia in the Seychelles, and possibly working to further the UAE’s goals with the American government.
In 1984, a postal inspector named Robert Northrop along with a customs officer executed a search warrant on the Washington, DC, home where Nader rented a room.
The search warrant was issued after the US Post Office found reason to believe magazines depicting underage boys engaged in sexual activities were included in a package sent to Nader from the Netherlands.
Nader addressed the child pornography delivery to the office of his magazine, Middle East Insight, a publication that featured interviews with world leaders.
Gwynneth Moolenaar was his lawyer in 1984, though she appeared as a witness in the case in 1986. She accompanied Nader to a meeting with government agents after the search warrant had been executed.
Moolenaar said the agents who searched Nader’s apartment confiscated “several bags, bags and boxes” of material.
David Povich, one of Nader’s defence attorneys in 1986, asked Moolenaar if the “material” taken from Nader’s room was “child pornography, was it not?”
Moolenaar replied: “Yes, that was child pornography, yes.”
Moolenaar later recalled that Nader confirmed the materials taken from his room belonged to him.
But this was not news to Povich, who said later in the transcript there were “probably six” child pornography magazines from the same publisher taken from Nader’s room while debating the prosecution’s line of questioning.
The case against Nader was thrown out because of a technicality involving laws surrounding the importation of obscene materials. He was not charged with simple possession of child pornography, but with two counts of using the US postal service for the importation of “filthy magazines”. The charges were eventually dropped and he was never convicted.
1991 guilty plea
Nader continued transporting child pornography into the US after the 1985 case ended, according to reports from Politico.
Nader was caught at Dulles airport in Washington, DC, with videos depicting underage boys engaging in sex acts in 1990, according to court fillings referenced by Politico. Nader attempted to hide the videos in candy tins, court records say.
During court proceedings, Nader was able to travel abroad five times – four times to Lebanon, once to Russia – with court permission.
Defence attorneys Neil Jaffee and Richard Mendelson argued that Nader was involved in negotiations to free US citizens taken hostage in Beirut.
He pleaded guilty to one charge of importing child pornography in a Virginia court and served a six-month sentence at a halfway house in Maryland.
No US officials would testify on Nader’s behalf because the government’s position at the time was not to negotiate with hostage-takers, the defence wrote. However, several letters of support for Nader were filed, including one from the wife of a hostage.
The prosecution fired back saying the nature of Nader’s work was unclear, even to US officials.
The judge sided with the defence and issued a lighter sentence than usual while ordering the case sealed.
Nader managed a further victory in keeping his guilty plea out of the public eye. He was not placed on the sex offender’s registry in Virginia because the state’s laws require two or more convictions of possession of child pornography before an offender’s name is added to the list.
Czech Republic abuse
Aaron David Miller, a former State Department negotiator who worked extensively in the Middle East, told Politico that Nader was “pretty reliable” and “authentic”, though he would disappear “for long blocks of time”.
Miller said he presumed Nader disappeared in the Middle East, but court records show he spent time in a European prison.
Nader was convicted in 2003 on 10 counts of abusing underage boys and sentenced to one year of prison in the Czech capital, Prague, The Associated Press reported in March.
A Czech court official said the crimes were committed between 1999 and 2003 and described the charges as “moral corruption of minors, sexual abuse and impairing morals”.
It is unknown how much time Nader spent in prison. He was expelled from the Czech Republic after his release.
Nader’s long history with child abuse appears not factor into the foreign influence investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Sandeep Savla, a lawyer representing Nader in the Mueller probe, told the AP revelations about his past are a “disgusting scheme” to keep his client from testifying.
It remains unclear how a paedophile gained access to the White House and close contacts with high-level officials in the Middle East, such as the UAE’s crown prince bin Zayed.
Leaked emails from the account of Elliott Broidy, another prominent Trump supporter, show that Broidy sent Nader a summary of his talks with the president and his son-in-law and adviser, Kushner, in October 2017.
The summary reportedly documents a discussion about the UAE’s dispute with Qatar.
Broidy is suing Qatar for hacking his email account. Qatar has denied any involvement, calling the accusations a “diversionary tactic”.
While Nader’s sordid past raises questions about the vetting processes of world leaders, it appears his connections to high-ranking officials will benefit the Mueller investigation.
“Nader will continue to answer truthfully questions put to him by the special counsel,” Savla said.
Other articles in this series
Mueller’s Web: The UAE-Trump Connection, an Al Jazeera interactive displaying connections between major players related to Trump and the UAE.