Trump-Russia investigation: President's former campaign manager Paul Manafort charged with conspiracy against the US

The two former associates have not yet pleaded to the charges 

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Monday 30 October 2017 14:16 GMT
Trump-Russia investigation: who has been charged in the Mueller probe

Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, has been indicted on conspiracy against the US, money laundering, and a slew of other charges, according to the office of the Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Mr Manafort, 68, and a business associate, Rick Gates, were indicted in a 31-page document approved by a federal grand jury last Friday. Mr Manafort was charged on 12 counts including conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money and violating federal lobbying and banking laws, the federal special counsel said. Mr Manafort surrendered himself to FBI headquarters in Washington DC and was scheduled later to be formally arraigned in a federal court.

“The indictment contains 12 counts: conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading FARA statements, false statements, and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts,” the counsel said in a statement.

Mr Manafort, a veteran political operative, had previously worked on the presidential campaigns of Republican Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush and Bob. He joined Mr Trump’s campaign in the spring of March 2016 and replaced Corey Lewandowski that June.

He was put in charge to counter the never-Trump movement that had emerged ahead of the Republican National Convention and the Trump camp was concerned John Kasich or another mainstream might try to use the convention to sideline the former reality television Star.

He resigned in August as controversy built over his dealings dealings with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

The charges were the first to emerge from Mr Mueller’s probe into Russia’ alleged meddling in the US election, and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow. Both Mr Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin have denied the claim.

Robert Mueller addressing leaking in 2013

The indictment claims that Mr Manafort and Mr Gates generated tens of millions of dollars of income from work for Ukrainian political parties and leaders and laundered money through US and foreign entities to hide the payments over the course of a decade between 2006 and at least 2016.

The two concealed their work and revenue as agents of Ukrainian political parties, it said.

The Trump administration has been unable to throw off the distraction of the Russia investigation, which intensified and was placed under Mr Mueller’s control after Mr Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in May. He admitted his actions were driven over his frustration the Russia investigation and his belief that Mr Comey was a “grandstander”.

While Mr Trump insisted the federal probe, along with the various congressional hearings that are underway on Capitol Hill were nothing more than a “a witch hunt”, his former top strategist Steve Bannon, said the firing of Mr Comey was a huge political error.

A number of Mr Trump’s circle have reportedly been being investigated by Mr Mueller, among then son-in-law Jared Kushner, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former aide Carter Paige.

Earlier this summer, FBI agents raided Mr Manafort’s Virginia home, having obtained a federal warrant that allowed them to carry out the operation without informing him in advance.

Reuters said that among other aspects of the probe, Mr Mueller has been investigating Mr Manafort’s financial and real estate dealings and his prior work for that political group, the Party of Regions, which backed former Ukrainian leader Mr Yanukovich.

Investigators also examined potential money laundering by Mr Manafort and other possible financial crimes, according to the sources.

Mr Gates was a long-time business partner of Manafort and allegedly has ties to many of the same Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs.

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