Paul Manafort: Trump campaign manager received $10m loan from Kremlin-linked Russian oligarch, documents reveal

Search warrant application also shows billionaire bankrolled lobbyist's consulting work in Ukraine

Tom Embury-Dennis
Thursday 28 June 2018 12:17 BST
Paul Manafort, former campaign manager for President Donald Trump, speaks on the phone while touring the floor of the Republican National Convention 17 July 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Paul Manafort, former campaign manager for President Donald Trump, speaks on the phone while touring the floor of the Republican National Convention 17 July 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort received a $10 million (£7.64m) loan from a Russian oligarch with close ties to the Kremlin, unsealed court filings have revealed.

In an affidavit attached to a 2017 search warrant application, an FBI agent said he had reviewed tax returns for a company controlled by Mr Manafort and his wife that showed the loan came from a Russian lender identified as Oleg Deripaska.

Mr Manafort was part of Mr Trump's presidential campaign for six months, and his campaign chairman for two months before his resignation in August 2016, despite White House claims he played a "very limited role".

The application to search Mr Manafort's Virginia apartment was granted, providing key evidence for special counsel Robert Mueller's indictments of Mr Manafort as part of his investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Mr Mueller has been investigating the financial links between Mr Manafort and Mr Deripaska, a metals magnate who is known to be close to Russian president Vladimir Putin. Mr Deripaska was among the Russian oligarchs sanctioned by the US in April.

Mr Mueller also has indicted Konstantin Kilimnik, a political operative who sometimes served as an intermediary between Mr Manafort and Mr Deripaska. In court filings Mr Mueller's prosecutors have said Mr Kilimnik has ties to Russian spy agencies, which Mr Kilimnik denies.

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The affidavit unsealed on Wednesday also disclosed that Mr Deripaska had financially backed Mr Manafort's consulting work in Ukraine when it started in 2005-2006, citing information from a source whose name was redacted, a sign that a former Manafort associate may have cooperated with the investigation.

On Tuesday a federal judge in Virginia dealt a blow to Mr Manafort by rejecting a motion to dismiss the case on the argument Mr Mueller did not have the mandate to prosecute him.

Mr Manafort has been indicted in Washington and Virginia on charges ranging from conspiring to launder money, bank and tax fraud and failing to register as a foreign agent for the pro-Russia Ukraine government.

Mr Manafort has pleaded not guilty. His Virginia trial starts in July and his Washington trial is scheduled for September.

The search warrant application also confirmed Mr Mueller has been investigating Mr Manafort's role in a 2016 meeting that he attended at Trump Tower in New York between Donald Trump Jr and a Russian lawyer and self-professed Kremlin informant who purportedly was carrying damaging information on Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee for president.

The FBI sought "communications, records, documents and other files involving any of the attendees of the meeting at Trump tower, as well as Aras and Amin Agalarov" said the application, which misspelled the first name of Emin Agalarov.

Aras Agalarov is a Russian oligarch close to Mr Putin who joined the elder Trump in staging the 2013 Miss Universe contest in Moscow. His son, Emin, is a popular singer.

Additional reporting by Reuters.

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