Ex-US ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson pleads guilty to Qatar lobbying


WASHINGTON: Former US ambassador Richard Olson has pleaded guilty to illegal lobbying for Qatar and accepting a lavish trip while serving as envoy to Pakistan, court documents showed.

Olson, who has also served as ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and as special representative on Afghanistan and Pakistan, was charged in federal court over violating a restriction on lobbying for a foreign country within a year of leaving office.

According to a criminal complaint, Olson, then still the ambassador in Islamabad, met in Los Angeles in 2015 with a Pakistani American who proposed working for a business associate from Bahrain.

The Pakistani American, who was not identified, quickly arranged a trip to London to discuss the cooperation, with Olson failing to disclose $19,000 provided him in first-class airfare, a luxury hotel stay and dinner, prosecutors said.

The businessperson proposed a one-year contract to Olson worth $300,000 after he ended his diplomatic career, the complaint said.