Steven Mnuchin, a former Treasury Secretary, said during his testimony on Thursday that nothing about his dealings with a supporter of Donald Trump who is currently being investigated for allegedly passing secret information to the United Arab Emirates seemed worrisome.

Tom Barrack, a former member of the inaugural committee for Donald Trump, is accused of utilising his “unique access” as a devoted ally of the president to influence Trump’s campaign and later his Republican government in order to further the interests of the United Arab Emirates. Authorities claim that while Barrack was courting UAE officials, they were repaying him by investing millions of dollars in his commercial endeavours.

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Mnuchin, during brief testimony as a defense witness in federal court in Brooklyn, described Barrack as a friend who was among hundreds of businesspeople offering him “thoughts and advice” while he served in the Cabinet. In those discussions, “I would never share anything … that I thought was confidential,” he testified.

Mnuchin was used by the defence to show that Barrack wasn’t always following the UAE’s lead. He recalled how Barrack arranged a meeting with him to express his opposition to a blockade of the neighbouring country of Qatar by the UAE, a move that Trump initially backed.

“He asked me to pass those views on to the president,” Mnuchin said. “I merely listened to him.”

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Mnuchin declined to disclose whether he said anything about it to Trump, claiming, “My internal discussions with the White House would be sensitive and covered by executive privilege.”

Prosecutors had questioned whether Mnuchin could testify objectively on matters affecting the UAE and Saudi Arabia because his private equity group has a significant financial stake in the region prior to his court appearance.

Barrack, 75, has entered a not guilty plea to charges of making false statements, obstructing justice, and operating as an unregistered agent of a foreign country. His attorneys have disputed that he committed any fraudulent conduct.

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Mnuchin was the second former member of the Trump Cabinet to testify. Rex Tillerson, a former secretary of state, admitted during federal testimony this month that he was unaware of Barrack’s interactions with Trump and the Emirates.

Within the Trump administration, Mnuchin promoted Saudi Arabia as a trusted U.S. ally in the Middle East, even meeting with Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, in 2018 when the prince was facing international criticism over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.

Mnuchin left court Thursday without speaking to reporters.

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The government rested its foreign influence case Wednesday. Much of the evidence focused on emails and other back-channel communications between Barrack and his high-level contacts in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Prosecutors say those communications show how Barrack and his foreign contacts strategized over how to win over Trump.

Prior to his indictment, Barrack made headlines by raising $107 million for the 2016 presidential election’s inaugural celebration. The event drew criticism for its extravagant spending and for drawing businessmen and foreign dignitaries hoping to influence the new administration.