Elliott Broidy, once a top Republican fundraiser, pleaded guilty to illegally lobbying President Donald Trump’s administration to help a Malaysian businessman end a federal investigation into the 1MDB scandal and to seek the extradition of a Chinese dissident from the US. Broidy’s plea on Tuesday in federal court in Washington came ahead of an expected criminal settlement with Goldman Sachs . The bank has agreed to pay more than US$2 billion for its role in helping the 1MDB Malaysian development fund raise billions of dollars, according to people familiar with the matter. Much of that money was later illegally diverted. The bank’s deal with the US Justice Department, which could be announced as early as this week, would allow the parent company to avoid a conviction, the people said. Broidy is cooperating with prosecutors in their investigation of efforts by fugitive businessman Jho Low to squelch a US civil forfeiture investigation into 1MDB and Low’s push on behalf of China for the US to extradite Guo Wengui, a wealthy exile who criticised China’s government, according to a person familiar with the matter. Prosecutors say that Broidy, a top fundraiser for Trump and the Republican National Committee in 2016, illegally cashed in on his connections by plotting to help Low in 2017. Low initially paid US$6 million to Broidy and promised US$75 million more if he succeeded in persuading the Justice Department to walk away from its civil forfeiture case. The backchannel efforts failed. Low was indicted in 2018 on charges of conspiring to launder billions of dollars embezzled from 1MDB. Low has denied wrongdoing. Broidy, a Los Angeles money manager, admitted that he conspired to violate the Foreign Agents Registration Act. The law, which is rarely invoked in criminal cases, requires individuals to register with the US attorney general before lobbying on behalf of foreign nationals. “You knew it was unlawful to fail to register with the attorney general?,” US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly asked Broidy, among dozens of questions she posed to him about his crime. “Yes, your honour,” Broidy said. US seeks 1MDB assets held in UK, movie posters from Riza Aziz As part of the plea deal, Broidy agreed to forfeit US$6.6 million. He faces as much as five years in prison. He is one of several Republican-aligned operatives to be charged with crimes. Steve Bannon, the one-time head of Trump’s 2016 campaign for president, was on Guo’s yacht off the coast of Connecticut when he was arrested in August and charged with conspiring to siphon hundreds of thousands of dollars from a campaign to raise funds for a wall on the US southern border. Just a few weeks after Trump’s inauguration, Broidy began selling his close access to the administration to foreign nationals. Low reached out to Nickie Mali Lum Davis, a Honolulu businesswoman, who put him in touch with Broidy, he admitted. Court papers referred to Low as Foreign National A. Broidy met in Bangkok with Low, who agreed to pay an US$8 million retainer to lobby the Trump administration and the attorney general. Prosecutors on Tuesday outlined a complex series of encrypted communications and financial transfers between Broidy and Low. Broidy “stated that the money should not come directly from Foreign National A and should be ‘clean’,” according to court papers. Broidy leaned on his political connections and his ties to Trump’s chief of staff to try to arrange a golf date between Trump and Najib Razak , then the Malaysian prime minister. At the same time, Broidy was also trying to help Low in his goal of arranging for the removal of Guo, he said. Court papers do not refer to Guo by name, but the description of him as PRC National A matches him. Prosecutors cited messages between Broidy and Lum Davis, who expressed her displeasure with him and the pressure that Low was applying. In July 2017, she texted that Broidy needed to get a golf date and an update on Guo’s removal. “We look impotent,” Lum Davis wrote. “Agree,” Broidy responded. “Hammering away.” The next day, Lum Davis texted: “This date is mandatory today – we’re getting creamed.” She texted Broidy to urge him to act. “Call everyone so they know u are raging mad.” Low gave talking points to Lum Davis, who passed them to Broidy to get to then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson before he met the Malaysian prime minister in August 2017. US consultant charged with illicit lobbying for Jho Low over 1MDB probe Trump did not end up playing golf with the prime minister but met him in the White House in September 2017. A month later, Broidy met Trump in the White House but did not raise the 1MDB matter, although he told Lum Davis that he had. Broidy also travelled to China to meet Low and a Chinese minister in a Shenzhen hotel suite. Broidy agreed to seek Guo’s removal. He sent a memorandum to then Attorney General Jeff Sessions, failing to mention his contact with Low, according to prosecutors. The campaign for Guo’s removal also failed. Prosecutors say that Broidy was paid at least US$9 million, although he said Tuesday that he gave some of that money to Lum Davis. Lum Davis has pleaded guilty to her role in the scheme. A former Justice Department lawyer, George Higginbotham, has pleaded guilty to lying about the source of money used in the influence efforts. Broidy is helping prosecutors investigate another suspected middleman, former rap star Pras Miche l, according to a person familiar with the matter. Michel has not been charged in the lobbying case, although he was accused last year with Low over campaign-finance violations related to President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election effort. Michel has denied wrongdoing. Broidy held a top role on Trump’s presidential inaugural committee and was a deputy finance chairman of the RNC from 2017 to early 2018. He stepped down after he agreed to pay US$1.6 million to a former Playboy model who became pregnant during an affair. That agreement was brokered by Trump’s long-time lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen. He also worked closely with George Nader, a convicted paedophile and adviser to the United Arab Emirates, to promote issues important to that country, documents seen by Bloomberg News show.