x

Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 16 July 2018

US politician Mike Huckabee was 'paid $50,000' to visit Qatar

Former presidential candidate failed to mention payment when he tweeted about trip in January 

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, a Republican, previously ran for the presidency in 2008. / Matt Sullivan / Getty Images / AFP
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, a Republican, previously ran for the presidency in 2008. / Matt Sullivan / Getty Images / AFP

United States politician Mike Huckabee was reportedly paid US$50,000 (Dh183,657) to visit Qatar by an American who was working on behalf of Doha.

Mr Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate, praised Qatar in a tweet upon his return to the US, but did not disclose that he received money for the trip.

The payment emerged in a public filing from Joseph Allaham, a Syrian-born businessman who has been an active ally for Qatar, and who registered with the Justice Department as a foreign agent for Doha last week.

The filing identified that he had paid thousands of dollars last November to Blue Diamond Horizons, a company run by Mr Huckabee.

Mr Allaham's filing said that money was an "honorarium for visit", the US website Mother Jones reported.

Mr Huckabee, whose daughter is White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, travelled to Qatar at the same time as the US Jewish lawyer Alan Dershowitz and the president of the Zionist Organisation of America, Morton Klein.

The Qatari outreach to pro-Israeli Americans was part of a broader effort to improve its relations with the US after Saudi Arabia and the UAE cut relations with Doha over what it says is Qatar's support for terrorism.

The American Jewish leaders were allegedly paid by Qatar after they criticised the Arab state for posing a threat to Israel. Mr Huckabee is a stalwart supporter of Israel.