WASHINGTON – Lobbyist Brian Ballard has come under scrutiny for reportedly working for an ally of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.
Ballard Partners disclosed on March 15 that it has taken on a Dubai-based trading company called ASM International General Trading LLC as a client, reports the Daily Beast.
"A Daily Beast analysis of open source materials—including website registration information, leaked offshore investment documents, and résumé sites—indicates that ASM International General Trading is affiliated with a member of Syria's wealthy Foz family of international businessmen, which reportedly has close links to the Assad regime.
Ballard said his firm will cut ties if links are shown to Assad.
"We're going to do more due diligence," Ballard told the Daily Beast. "We're not the CIA, but if it were to turn out that there was any connection at all, we would withdraw from our representation of the Dubai trading company."
He added: "We also represent a group of Syrian-American doctors and others who want a Syria free of Assad, which we fully support," Ballard added. "We've lobbied for that and we've never lobbied anything but that, and never been asked to, out of fairness to the trading company."
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Ballard, who set up shop in Washington after President Trump was elected, has taken on a number of foreign lobbying work, including the government of Turkey.
Recently he landed a lucrative contract with Qatar, as it looks to invest heavily in the U.S.