A senior aide to the former UKIP leader Nigel Farage has pleaded not guilty to 21 counts of fraud, money laundering and extortion.
George Cottrell, 22, is being held behind bars in Phoenix, Arizona, until his trial on 4 October after a judge denied him bail as he posed a "serious flight risk".
The son of a glamour model who was romantically linked to Prince Charles was caught in an FBI sting operation which targeted individuals laundering money on behalf of drug traffickers.
He was arrested on 22 July as he and Mr Farage disembarked a plane at Chicago O'Hare airport on their way back to the UK after visiting the Republican National Convention in Ohio.
He was led away in handcuffs and extradited to Arizona on 1 August.
In court Friday, the judge reviewed his financial situation and ruled he would not have to pay his own legal fees.
The Daily Mail reported that Mr Cottrell’s associates thought he was worth £250 million through a family trust fund.
He now faces 21 charges including conspiracy to commit money laundering, extortion, blackmail, mail and wire fraud.
Nigel Farage's most controversial moments
Nigel Farage's most controversial moments
1/12 When he unveiled that 'breaking point' poster during the referendum
Mr Farage was accused of deploying “Nazi-style propaganda” when he unveiled a poster showing Syrian refugees travelling to Europe under the next “Breaking point”. Users on social media were quick to compare the advert to a Nazi propaganda film with similar visuals and featuring Jewish refugees. The poster was particularly controversial because it was unveiled the morning of the killing of Labour MP Jo Cox
2/12 When he said he’d be concerned if his neighbours were Romanian
In May 2014 Mr Farage was accused of a “racial slur” against Romanians after he suggested he would be concerned living next to a house of them. “I was asked if a group of Romanian men moved in next to you, would you be concerned? And if you lived in London, I think you would be,” he told LBC radio during an interview. Asked whether he would also object to living next to German children, he said: “You know the difference”
3/12 When he said the EU campaign was won 'without a bullet being fired'
Nigel Farage has said the next Prime Minister has to be a Leave supporter
4/12 When he resigned as Ukip leader and came back days later
After failing to win the seat of South Thanet at the general election, Nigel Farage stepped down as Ukip leader – as he had promised to do during the campaign. Days later on 11 May he “un-resigned” and said he would stay after being convinced by supporters within the party. We’ll see how long his resignation lasts this time
5/12 When he blamed immigrants for making him late
Mr Farage turned up late to a £25-a-head ‘meet the leader’ style event in Port Talbot, Wales in December 2014. Asked why he was late, he blamed immigrants. “It took me six hours and 15 minutes to get here - it should have taken three-and-a-half to four,” he said. “That has nothing to do with professionalism, what it does have to do with is a country in which the population is going through the roof chiefly because of open-door immigration and the fact that the M4 is not as navigable as it used to be”
6/12 When he wanted to ban immigrants with HIV from Britain
Mr Farage has used his platform as Ukip leader call for people with HIV to be banned from coming to Britain. Asked in an interview with Newsweek Europe in October 2014 who he thought should be allowed to come to the UK, he said: “People who do not have HIV, to be frank. That’s a good start. And people with a skill.” He also repeated similar comments in the 2015 general election leadership debates
7/12 When he defended the use of a racial slur against Chinese people
Defending one of Ukip’s candidates, who used the word “ch**ky” to describe a Chinese person, Mr Farage said: “If you and your mates were going out for a Chinese, what do you say you're going for?" When he was told by the presented that he “honestly would not” use the slur, Mr Farage replied: “A lot would”
Lintao Zhang/Getty Images
8/12 When he said parts of Britain were ‘like a foreign land’
The Ukip leader used his 2014 conference speech to declare parts of Britain as being “like a foreign land”. He told his audience in Torquay that parts of the country were “unrecognisable” because of the number of foreigners there. Mr Farage has also previously said he felt uncomfortable when people spoke other language on a train
9/12 When he said the British army should be deployed to France
At the height of trouble at Britain’s Calais border Mr Farage proposed a novel solution. The Ukip leader called for the British army to be sent to France to put down a migrant rebellion. “In all civil emergencies like this we have an army, we have a bit of a Territorial Army as well and we have a very, very overburdened police force and border agency,” he said. “If in a crisis to make sure we’ve actually got the manpower to check lorries coming in, to stop people illegally coming to Britain, if in those circumstances we can use the army or other forces then why not”
10/12 When he said breastfeeding women should ‘sit in the corner’
Mr Farage sparked protests from mothers after he told women to “sit on the corner” if they wanted to breastfeed their children. “I think that given that some people feel very embarrassed by it, it isn’t too difficult to breastfeed a baby in a way that's not openly ostentatious,” Mr Farage said. He added: "Or perhaps sit in the corner, or whatever it might be”
11/12 When he said the gender pay gap exists because women are ‘worth less’
At a Q&A on the European Union in January 2014 Mr Farage said there was no discrimination against women causing the gender pay gap. Instead, he said, women were paid less because they were simply “worth far less” than many of their male counterparts. “A woman who has a client base, has a child and takes two or three years off - she is worth far less to her employer when she comes back than when she went away because that client base won't be stuck as rigidly to her portfolio,” he said
12/12 When he said he actually couldn’t guarantee £350m to the NHS after Brexit
During the EU referendum campaign the Leave side pledged to spend £350 million a week on the National Health Service – claiming that this is what the UK sends to Brussels. Nigel Farage didn’t speak out against this figure and also pledged to spend EU cash on the health service and other public services himself. Then the day of the election result he suddenly changed his tone, saying he couldn’t guarantee the cash for the NHS and that to pledge to do so was “a mistake”
The indictment alleges that Mr Cottrell posed online as "Bill" from March to September 2014, advertising consultation and money laundering services through the so-called “dark web”.
He was contacted by undercover FBI operatives posing as drug traffickers, who proposed to send him between $50,000 and $150,000 of drug money every month. Mr Cottrell allegedly agreed to launder the money in offshore accounts.
The documents claim that he arranged for the agents to send him £15,500 which he intended to keep for himself. He then allegedly demanded £62,000 in the form of bitcoin and threatened to alert authorities if they refused.
The lawsuit also claimed that Mr Cottrell had a “serious, years-long gambling problem” which led to him taking “irrational risks”.
Mr Cottrell, a grandson of the late Yorkshire landowner Lord Manton, runs Mr Farage’s private office, and has been described in an earlier statement by UKIP as an “enthusiastic volunteer”. He was responsible for Mr Farage’s diary and media inquiries.
His emails have been frozen, leaving Mr Farage without access to his online diary. Mr Farage reportedly knew nothing of Mr Cottrell’s alleged illegal activities and returned to London without him in July.
Mr Farage’s trusted campaign member said in his detention order that he had recently changed his name in order to distance himself from his political activities in the UK, which the court did not find “credible”. He also said that he lived with his parents in Worcester despite his residence being listed as a flat in Kensington, West London.
The UKIP aide was expelled from Malvern College before he sat his A-levels and went straight into what he described as "private banking".
He is surrounded by influential family figures, including his uncle Lord Hesketh, who set up a Formula One team and worked for the Thatcher government.
His mother, Fiona Cottrell, was a glamour model and was linked to Prince Charles in the 1970s.
UKIP could not be reached for comment. A previous statement from the party claimed that the alleged crimes were carried out before the 22-year-old started working for UKIP.