“I must tell you that Paul Manafort is a good man,” Trump said last month. “He was with Ronald Reagan. He was with a lot of different people over the years. And I feel very sad about that.”
He also praised Manafort for refusing to make any plea deal, unlike former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty last month to charges and admitted making hush-money payments to two women who claimed they had had extramarital affairs with Trump.
The first section of the information filed Friday outlines Mueller’s case against Manafort:
The Special Counsel informs the Court:
1. PAUL J. MANAFORT, JR. (MANAFORT) served for years as a political consultant and lobbyist. Between at least 2006 and 2015, MANAFORT conspired with Richard W. Gates (Gates), Konstantin Kilimnik (Kilimnik), and others to act, and acted, as unregistered agents of a foreign government and political party. Specifically, MANAFORT conspired to act and acted as an agent of the Government of Ukraine, the Party of Regions (a Ukrainian political party whose leader Victor Yanukovych was President from 2010 to 2014), President Yanukovych, and the Opposition Bloc (a successor to the Party of Regions that formed in 2014 when Yanukovych fled to Russia).
MANAFORT generated more than 60 million dollars in income as a result of his Ukraine work. In order to hide Ukraine payments from United States authorities, from approximately 2006 through at least 2016, MANAFORT, with the assistance of Gates and Kilimnik, laundered the money through scores of United States and foreign corporations, partnerships, and bank accounts.
2. In furtherance of the scheme, MANAFORT funneled millions of dollars in payments into foreign nominee companies and bank accounts, opened by him and his underlings in nominee names and in various foreign countries, including Cyprus, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines (Grenadines), and the United Kingdom. MANAFORT hid the existence of the foreign companies and bank accounts, falsely and repeatedly reporting to his tax preparers and to the United States that he had no foreign bank accounts.
3. In furtherance of the scheme, MANAFORT concealed from the United States his work as an agent of, and millions of dollars in payments from, Ukraine and its political parties and leaders.
Because MANAFORT directed a campaign to lobby United States officials and the United States media on behalf of the Government of Ukraine, the President of Ukraine, and Ukrainian political parties, he was required by law to report to the United States his work and fees. MANAFORT did not do so, either for himself or any of his companies. Instead, when the Department of Justice sent inquiries to MANAFORT in 2016 about his activities, MANAFORT responded with a series of false and misleading statements.
4. In furtherance of the scheme, MANAFORT used his hidden overseas wealth to enjoy a lavish lifestyle in the United States, without paying taxes on that income. MANAFORT, without reporting the income to his bookkeeper or tax preparers or to the United States, 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. MANAFORT also used these offshore accounts to purchase multi-million dollar properties in the United States. Manafort then borrowed millions of dollars in loans using these properties as collateral, thereby obtaining cash in the United States without reporting and paying taxes on the income. In order to increase the amount of money he could access in the United States, Manafort defrauded the institutions that loaned money on these properties so that they would lend him more money at more favorable rates than he would otherwise be able to obtain.
5. Manafort laundered more than $30 million to buy property, goods, and services in the United States, income that he concealed from the United States Treasury, the Department of Justice, and others. MANAFORT cheated the United States out of over $15 million in taxes.