In October 2019, Mr. Zuberi was charged with making nearly $1 million in illegal campaign donations from April 2012 through October 2016, including some funded by foreign sources, as part of a scheme to gain access to American politicians for foreign clients. He was also charged with falsifying records filed with the Justice Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act to conceal his lobbying for Sri Lanka to help burnish the country’s reputation in Washington amid human rights concerns. And he was charged with failing to report and pay taxes on $5.65 million he was paid for the Sri Lankan lobbying campaign, much of which, prosecutors say, he diverted for his own personal use.
He could face a maximum sentence of 15 years in federal prison.
Zuberi is a venture capitalist, private equity fund manager and an elite political fundraiser. He was one of the top fundraisers during former President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. In 2015, he was listed as a “Hillblazer” (people who raised more than $100,000 for Hillary Clinton’s two presidential campaigns).
Zuberi is a partner and the vice president at Avenue Ventures. He is vice president of strategic development for Manhattan Street Capital and runs their FundAthena division — which helps companies led by women or with a gender diverse management by providing them with easier access to funds and donations. He is also on the board of Latino Victory — a committee that works to grow Latino political power by increasing Latino representation at every level of the government.
However, in 2017, after Trump’s election, he changed his political stance and told his friends that he needed to act quickly in order to balance out his political connections to maintain access and thus donated more than $1.1 million to committees associated with Trump and the Republican Party in three months following the election in 2016. Additionally, in the first two years of Trump administration, Zuberi was said to have donated more than $467,000 to the president’s reelection committee and the Republican National Committee.
He was born in Albany, New York, and studied finance and business economics as an undergraduate at the University of Southern California. He invested in insurance firms in Asia and the Middle East before getting an MBA from Stanford University in 2006.