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Ex-Trump aide Bannon charged with defrauding donors for border wall

WASHINGTON: Steve Bannon, a former senior adviser to President Donald Trump, has been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud in relation to a fund-raising campaign to support the building of Mr Trump's promised US-Mexico border wall, the US Justice Department said yesterday.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan announced that Bannon was charged in an unsealed indictment along with several others including Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea for allegedly defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors through a US$25 million (S$34 million) crowdfunding campaign called We Build the Wall.

The donors thought the money would go towards helping to build a border wall, prosecutors said.

But Kolfage, whom they described as the public face and founder of the operation, received thousands of dollars that he used to fund a lavish lifestyle.

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Bannon, a prominent figure on the American political right, served as a campaign and White House adviser to Mr Trump, who made the construction of a border wall a key campaign promise in 2016.

Kolfage was scheduled to appear in federal court late yesterday in Florida, while Bannon is set to appear in federal court in Manhattan.

The other two defendants are due to appear in courts in the Middle District of Florida and Colorado. - REUTERS

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