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Middle East lobbyists pay op-ed writers to sell their message

A Kuwaiti firm and an armed Iranian opposition group are some of the latest examples of lobbyists paying for positive press coverage.
A man reads a newspaper story about Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump as people gather to protest against Trump on the sidewalk, outside the grand opening of his new Trump International Hotel in Washington, U.S. October 26, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - S1AEUJFELYAA

A Kuwaiti private equity firm has turned to paying op-ed writers as part of its multimillion dollar pressure campaign for the emirate to drop embezzlement charges against its former CEO.

A new lobbying disclosure from New York communications firm Marathon Strategies shows a total of $11,500 was paid for “communications” services to consulting firms JSM Consulting and Gulf State Analytics in the six months through October as part of Marathon's lobbying work for KGL Investment. During that time period, the consulting firms’ top executives wrote op-eds mirroring KGL’s claims that its Russian executive Marsha Lazareva was being unfairly hounded by a corrupt justice system — without ever revealing their financial links to Marathon or its foreign client.

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