Published: Thu, April 13, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

Manafort firm received Ukraine ledger payout

The documents show payments made in 2007 and 2009 - years before Manafort served as Trump's unpaid campaign chairman - but could be helpful to investigators in both the USA and Ukraine. It was not disclosed if Trump knew about Manafort's plans to register before he hired him.

The disclosure follows reporting by the AP in August that the firm of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, who served in a senior role in the Trump campaign, had overseen the lobbying effort.

Manafort's ties to Russian Federation are part of probes underway by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and congressional intelligence committees into Moscow's interference in the 2016 presidential election, according to reports by the New York Times and other media. Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser, also registered as a foreign agent after his lobbying work with Turkey.

But the AP report says that newly obtained financial records confirm that at least $1.2 million in payments between 2007 and 2009 listed in the ledger next to Manafort's name were actually received by his consulting firm in the United States. The bureau said it is not investigating Manafort because he is not a Ukrainian citizen. A foreign agent registration requires lobbying firms to disclose more details about their work than is required under the Congressional registration, including the details of the lobbying contract, individual contacts with American officials and any attempts to influence USA public opinion. Within days of that report, Manafort left Trump's campaign. A lawyer for the Podesta Group said the Centre had certified in 2012 that it was not "directly or indirectly supervised, directed, controlled, financed or subsidized" by a foreign country, but that "information brought to light in recent months" prompted Podesta to review whether filing as congressional lobbyists was sufficient. Trump fired Manafort as his campaign chairman in August when the New York Times broke the story of his firm's connections to Yanukovych and his pro-Russia political party.

Federal prosecutors have been looking into Manafort's work for years as part of an effort to recover Ukrainian assets stolen after the 2014 ouster of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled to Russian Federation.

It also underscores the legal pressure on Manafort, who faces FBI, Justice Department and Treasury Department investigations, sources have told McClatchy.

The Justice Department rarely prosecutes such violations of the Foreign Agent Registration Act, but Manafort will now have to publicly and specifically detail his foreign agent work. The firms in question are the Podesta Group and Mercury LLC.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni said that the former Trump adviser has been in discussions with federal authorities since before the election about registering under FARA. The same spokesperson added that the work was not for the Russian government (presumably, this is regarding his work for pro-Russian factions in Ukraine) and started before he joined the campaign.

The amount of the invoice - $750,000- and the payment date of October 14, 2009, matches one entry on the ledger indicating payments to Manafort from the Party of Regions. "I can not say the payment was public because we can not have access to wire transfer information".

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