California-based entrepreneur Imaad Zuberi, who donated nearly $1 million to former US President Donald Trump's inaugural committee, was sentenced to a 12-year prison sentence on Thursday, according to the US Department of Justice. A Pakistani-American venture capitalist and political fundraiser, Zuberi pleaded guilty to various charges including obstructing a federal investigation into his political donations, falsifying records to hide his identity while lobbying top US officials, and evading paying millions of dollars in taxes. He was sentenced in California by US District Judge Virginia A. Phillips and ordered to pay over $15 million in restitution and a criminal fine of $1.75 million.Zuberi told The New York Times in 2019 that in order “to open doors, I have to donate,” adding that “it’s just a fact of life.” His remarks indicate that he is well aware of the fact that his donations were intended to gain access to politicians, public officials and business executives. “Zuberi turned acting as an unregistered foreign agent into a business enterprise,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers. “He used foreign money to fund illegal campaign contributions that bought him political influence, and used that influence to lobby US officials for policy changes on behalf of numerous foreign principals."Other allegations that Zuberi currently faces relate to his conduct following the initial investigation into his political donations, which may better explain the serious sentence he has received. Demers noted that "after learning he was under investigation, Zuberi doubled down on his criminal conduct, obstructing justice by creating false records, destroying evidence, and attempting to purchase witnesses’ silence." According to prosecutors, Zuberi went to great lengths to represent foreign nationals and governments in the US while attempting to change or shift US policy in a way that would create opportunities for his associates, systematically hiding his agendas in various ways. Examples of how Zuberi used his influence to promote foreign interests in Congress while failing to report his sponsored representation include urging dozens of members of Congress to pressure Bahrain to lift sanctions from a Bahraini businessman Zuberi had known personally and promoting the image of Sri Lanka in the US, for which he was paid a total of $6.5 million by the government of Sri Lanka. Zuberi had a record of donating generously to Democrats, including to election campaigns by former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, before shifting to Republicans with Trump's election in 2016.