Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, was indicted on 12 counts Monday, including conspiracy against the United States, in connection with lobbying work for Ukraine uncovered by the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Manafort’s former lobbying business partner, Rick Gates, also was named in the indictment.
“Manafort and Gates generated tens of millions of dollars in income as a result of their Ukraine work,” the indictment says. “In order to hide Ukraine payments from United States authorities, from approximately 2006 through at least 2016, Manafort and Gates laundered the money through scores of United States and foreign corporations, partnerships, and bank accounts.”
Manafort resigned from the Trump campaign in August 2016, after reports about his former business ties to Eastern Europe began to surface.
Several business deals link Manafort to pro-Russian interests in the former Eastern bloc, according to the indictment. Manafort’s name reportedly appeared in a secret ledger used by the Party of Regions, the party of Viktor Yanukovych, the former president of Ukraine.
And a firm he once ran ― which he didn’t register as a foreign agent as required by federal law ― allegedly helped orchestrate a pro-Russian lobbying effort on behalf of Ukraine. Manafort also has been linked with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, an ally of President Vladimir Putin, and Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash.
Manafort retroactively registered as a foreign agent and disclosed more than $17 million in payments for his firm’s consulting work in Ukraine from 2012 to 2014.
He set up shell companies in Cyprus to receive payments. Failing to pay taxes on this income awarded him a “lavish lifestyle in the United States,” according to the indictment, which says he “spent millions of dollars on luxury goods and services for himself and his extended family through payments wired from offshore nominee accounts to United States vendors.”
That Russia Meeting
Manafort met with Senate investigators in July about a meeting he attended the year before with members of the Trump family and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. Donald Trump Jr. set up the meeting after being lured by the potential of receiving damaging material about Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Manafort passed along his notes from the meeting, igniting speculation about whether they contained references to Russian donations to the Trump campaign or the Republican Party. The FBI raided his home the next morning.
Gates’ Role In The Trump Campaign
Gates also once played an integral role in the Trump campaign. He took over after Manafort resigned, and later worked for America First Policies, a pro-Trump lobbying group.
Gates quit in April after authorities began investigating his ties to Manafort. He reportedly continued to make visits to the White House, along with his new boss, Tom Barrack ― a member of Trump’s inner circle.
Gates personally worked with Washington lobbying firms to coordinate a campaign to promote Ukranian interests and pushed an effort to undermine sympathy for Yulia Tymoshenko, a rival of Yanukovych, according to The Associated Press.
Gates did not register as a foreign agent, allowing him to use about $3 million from offshore accounts “to pay for his personal expenses, including his mortgage, children’s tuition, and interior decorating of his Virginia residence,” the indictment alleges.
“Everything was done legally and with the approval of our lawyers,” Gates said in June. “Nothing to my knowledge was ever done inappropriately.”