First Look Institute is a c 3 nonprofit organization. T he women were brought into the Abu Dhabi apartment in abayas. Roman Paschal recalled about seven women to choose from. He picked a woman who turned out to be from Romania. Paschal had been flown to the United Arab Emirates by his friend Yousef Al Otaiba, in whose apartment they were gathered.
He had recently befriended Otaiba at a Washington, D. InOtaiba hired an original member of his partying crew, his college buddy Byron Fogan, to run a personal foundation with millions of dollars in UAE funding. He also arranged for Fogan to be simultaneously employed by the embassy as a legal adviser, and by the Washington public relations firm, The Harbour Group, working on behalf of the UAE. His spending on galas, hospital wings, dinner parties, and birthday bashes has become legendary.
SinceOtaiba has reported directly to MBZ as his head of international affairs, and then as the ambassador in Washington. Otaiba has been a leading voice in Washington for the war in Yemen, where the UAE operates torture warehouses and funds death squ.
The conflict has left more than 10, dead and countless more starving and stricken with a cholera epidemic of historic proportions. The UAE has some of the most draconian sex crime laws of any place in the world. Just last week, a man and a woman were arrested for having a conversation in a car while being unrelated and unmarried. The sex crime statutes tend to be employed as a cudgel against political dissidents or people, often foreigners, with limited political power; ruling-class figures, in contrast, operate under a different set of informal rules.
In private, Otaiba has made candid admissions about the sex trade in Abu Dhabi rarely seen from high-level figures in the region. The next day, a friend from college ed Otaiba. How big is the prostitution problem? Dubai is definitely more visible than abu dhabi. The Global Leaks operatives use a. The UAE has also developed a roster of enemies in the region. The Global Leaks s began to dribble out just as a geopolitical row between the UAE and its neighbors in Qatar came to a head.
The UAE, along with some of its Gulf allies, broke off diplomatic relations and blockaded Qatar — in part over its relations with Iran, another regional powerhouse at loggerhe with the UAE and its Gulf allies. The s obtained through Global Leaks provide a rare window into the life of a jet-setting diplomatic power player. In the years since, the importance of the crew around Otaiba has only increased, as Otaiba brought his nightlife friend Fogan into his day job by hiring him to work for the embassy.
From left, U. In his freshman year at school, Otaiba became friends with Fogan. Fogan, the office said, graduated in The criminal conviction put him on the road to sobriety; he told investigating agents that his crimes had been agitated by inner demons only he knew about.
Otaiba first introduced Paschal and Fogan, who features prominently in the Global Leaks s, back in Byron said the exact same thing about you. In andOtaiba played a crucial role helping to talk other countries in the region into backing President George W. After the surge was announced in Januaryand Arab rulers fell in line with the U. Fogan, for his part, was pumped for the trip.
I, insert name of dumb girlagree to let insert name of one of us filthbags hit it. ed little chicks ature.
Fogan, then in law school, s Otaiba about disclaimers for women they meet in Las Vegas. In another from the thread, Otaiba readied his friends for the planned debauchery.
In a reflective mood, just weeks before presenting his official credentials to President George W. Bush, Otaiba forwarded a exchange to Fogan. She poached him from another madam, whom she and Otaiba discussed in the s.
Like I said, I have had a similar situation as well. They both have passports. Otaiba replied days later, on May 30,with a list of his preferred escorts.
Camelot, a strip club in Washington, D. T he Intercept authenticated the s in a of different ways. InOtaiba and two of his closest advisers in the United States met with a fourth person, who asked to remain anonymous so that he could continue doing business in the region, to discuss how to handle a possible blackmail attempt that was underway involving the same s that, years later, Global Leaks would distribute to journalists.
Some of the s were posted in to an online chatroom, but have since been removed. The source had limited involvement with the affair, and did not know the identity of the possible blackmailer or whether a demand for payment ever occurred. Those s precisely match those distributed by Global Leaks.
Finally, Roman Paschal said he saw the s in real time, as Otaiba would forward them around to his buddies to gawk at and weigh in on. He was able to describe their details without first being provided the messages. Conversations distributed by Global Leaks suggest that interactions with sex workers were routine. Paschal s Otaiba about having women sent to Abu Dhabi from a D. Paschal was also able to provide photos that show him partying in the U. In one, both Paschal and Otaiba are sitting next to women who Paschal said were strippers at Camelot that Otaiba sent on a train to party with the crew in New York.
Nick Triantis, the manager of Camelot, confirmed the women were former dancers.
At dinner at Nobu restaurant in New York City. On the ends, two unnamed exotic dancers from a Washington strip club, Camelot. Paschal second from left and Otaiba second from right. The women had taken a train to New York. O ver the years, Paschal slowly came to believe that something more sinister than consensual sex work was at play. It started with a Russian woman, who gave him her after their first encounter.
She told him that if he wanted to hang out without paying, he should call her directly. He did, and they got together a few times.
During one of her visits, the woman opened up about a dark side of her work. But some of the girls I was sent over there were trafficked girls. The Russian woman who told Paschal about having her passport stolen had been the first of several who opened up to him about the same predicament.
Sex trafficking — when an adult is coerced, deceived, or forced into prostitution or maintained in prostitution by those means after initially consenting — is the most common form of modern slavery, according to Polaris, which operates a trafficking hotline in the U.
Non-citizen residents of the UAE, however, receive harsh treatment for even minor violations. He pointed to a case in which a woman testified she was gang raped. P aschal had seen some of this behind-closed-doors sex work — in the privacy of Emirati homes — for himself. In MayPaschal posted an essay on his blog about his experiences with Otaiba and other friends.
Paschal reached out to the Justice Department and met with U. Attorney Roy Austin, who handled human trafficking issues, in Paschal said he was trying to draw attention to the broader problem, an assertion Austin confirmed. Paschal also approached local media in the Washington area. Karem told The Intercept he remembered hearing from Paschal, and said he found his story credible but had no way to authenticate any of it. Still, he chased the tip as far as he could and reached out to the UAE embassy.
Otaiba turned to a trusted friend to deal with it: Byron Fogan. Despite the headline, the piece focused on a U. We should, however, remain vigilant.