George Nader, key MBZ aide, faces new child sex transportation charges
George Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman who served as an aide to the ruler of Abu Dhabi, has been charged with transporting a 14-year-old boy to the United States for sexual activity, US news outlets reported.
Nader was charged with sex trafficking and transporting child pornography on Friday, the Washington Post said. He was also charged with obscenity, according to The Daily Beast.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges during a court appearance in US federal court in Alexandria, Virginia.
According to the indictment, Nader brought a 14-year-old boy from Europe to the US through Dulles International Airport in Washington in February 2000, the Washington Post said.
He "brought [the boy] to his home in Washington for sexual activity," the newspaper reported.
An attorney for Nader declined to comment, the Post said.
Nader was a key point of contact between members of President Donald Trump's inner circle and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (MBZ) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
As a senior political adviser to the crown prince, he was instrumental in setting up an alliance between the Trump administration, the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
In January 2018, Nader was caught with "visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct" on his phone after he landed in New York from Dubai, the US Justice Department said.
He is alleged to have been in possession of an iPhone 7 on which was stored a dozen videos of boys - some as young as two or three years old - being sexually abused.
At the time, he was the star witness in special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into possible collusion between Russia and Trump's presidential campaign.
Mueller mentions Nader more than 100 times in the report on the findings of his investigation.
According to that probe, Nader sought to serve as an intermediary between members of the Trump transition team and Russian businessman Kirill Dmitriev, an ally of President Vladimir Putin.
Nader also arranged a meeting between Dmitriev and Erik Prince, the founder of the US private mercenary firm Blackwater, which has been accused of committing war crimes in Iraq.
Nader's trial is scheduled for 30 September.
A witness in the case from the Czech Republic may testify, the assistant US attorney said in court on Friday, according to the Washington Post.
Nader was denied bail after Judge Leonie M Brinkema cited "the nature of the charges and [his] extensive overseas connections," the newspaper also reported.
This is not the first time Nader has been charged with offences involving children.
In 1991, Nader pleaded guilty to charges of transporting visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, the US Justice Department said in June.