Published: Fri, February 23, 2018
Arts&Culture | By Kristi Paul

Mueller hits ex-Trump campaign officials Manafort, Gates with new indictment

Mueller hits ex-Trump campaign officials Manafort, Gates with new indictment

US Special Counsel Robert Mueller filed new criminal charges on Thursday against President Donald Trump's ex-campaign aides Paul Manafort and Rick Gates that include bank and tax fraud, stepping up pressure in a legal battle that started past year.

That indictment focused not on events in the 2016 race but financial transactions involving work by Manafort and Gates for the Ukrainian political party, and their failure to notify US authorities that they were acting as lobbyists for a foreign government.

Jason Maloni, a spokesman for Manafort, said the former Trump campaign chairman is "innocent of the allegations. and he is confident that he will be acquitted of all charges".

The new charges come as Gates is rumored to be nearing a plea deal with Mueller, paving way for him to cooperate with the investigation and testify against his longtime business associate.

The new indictment says Manafort and Gates passed the money they received from Ukraine through foreign bank accounts to hide it from the Internal Revenue Service. His lawyers have requested to withdraw from the case. He lied on the application for a loan he later used to renovate the house, telling the lender that he did not receive more than half of his income from outside the U.S. From 2015 through 2016 (when Gates and Manafort fell on hard times), Manafort borrowed money against the brownstone by falsely telling the lender that he would use a set amount of the loan to improve the brownstone. The two men have been accused of criminal misdoings during their work as lobbyists in Ukraine on behalf of former President Viktor Yanukovych and his Party of Regions: conspiracy to launder money, conspiracy to commit fraud, and failure to register as foreign agents. The new loans were used as spending money or to pay off older loans that had fallen due.


Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates are facing even more charges.

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The new indictment comes a week after a separate Mueller indictment charged 13 Russians in a conspiracy to undermine the us presidential election.

Manafort, 68, was charged on 30 October with multiple federal felonies unconnected with his campaign duties.

The pair were charged last October with money laundering, conspiracy and other offenses in a federal court in Washington.

They have pleaded not guilty. He had helped incumbent president Gerald Ford beat back a challenge for the nomination by Ronald Reagan at the 1976 Republican national convention and later built a lobbying business in Washington that specialised in unsavory clients around the world.


The new indictment accuses Manafort and Gates of doctoring documents to inflate the income of their businesses and then using those fraudulent documents to obtain loans.

At one point, according to the charge sheet, Manafort's ability to get new credit was affected by a $300,000 American Express credit card bill that was more than 90 days in arrears.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Alex van der Zwaan, a Russia-linked lawyer closely associated with Manafort and Gates, pleaded guilty to making false statements to investigators about his work for the law firm Skadden, Arps, Meagher, & Flom LLP and Affiliates in 2012.

In fact, prosecutors alleged Manafort was taking out multimillion-dollar loans in those same months, including $5.5 million that he sought in the same month he joined the campaign. The charges refer on three occasions to another conspirator.

The charging document said that while answering Federal Bureau of Investigation agents' questions about his work on the report, van der Zwaan lied that he last communicated with Gates in mid-August and another unnamed person, only identified as "Person A", in 2014.


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