Manafort Illegally Lobbied European Politicians

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s criminal case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort resulted in a dozen of charges, one of which was recently unsealed.

The indictment that was filed in mid-February and unsealed Friday as result of Trump campaign aide Richard Gates pleading guilty as part of Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The newly unsealed indictment shows that Manafort, with the help of Gates, was secretly retaining a group of former senior European politicians to take positions that were favorable to Ukraine as part of their illegal lobbying work for Kiev’s government. Among other things, part of that work included lobbying in the United States.

“Although the former politicians would appear to be providing their independent assessments of Government of Ukraine actions, in fact, they were paid lobbyists for Ukraine,” the indictment says.

The Hill reports that Manafort wired more than $2 million from his offshore accounts to pay these former politicians, the indictment alleges.

Details regarding financial-related charges against Manafort were made public, including charges related to the work Manafort and Gates did on behalf of pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Yanukovych.

According to The Hill, the indictment alleges that Manafort and Gates concealed their scheme to avoid registering as a foreign agent in the United States by providing a “false and misleading” statement to two unnamed lobbying firms they retained. They allegedly stated that the European organization they worked within their lobbying work was not linked or funded in any way by a foreign government.

The organization is known as the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, and “was created in or about 2012 in Belgium as a mouthpiece for Yanukovych and the Party of Regions,” his political party, according to the indictment.

However the U.S. lobbying firms hired by Manafort and Gates were identified only as Company A and Company B, but unofficially they are reported as Podesta Group and Mercury Public Affairs.

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