Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort intended to share the 2016 polling data with two Ukrainian oligarchs with whom he had worked for years, Serhiy Lyovochkin and Rinat Akhmetov, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Prosecutors said that special counsel Robert Mueller has been looking into the two oligarchs for some time as they were both generous backers of Manafort’s Ukrainian lobbying work for which he earned millions of dollars in the course of several years.
That included wire transfers from the two pro-Russian Ukrainians through offshore bank accounts, prosecutors said at trial.
Trials documents show that although payments stopped by 2015, Manafort wrote to his accountant in 2016 that he expected a payment of $2.4 million later that year for work in Ukraine.
However, Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni maintained the money was meant to reimburse old debts from before the Trump campaign, rather than pay for the polling data.
The Tuesday court filing nonetheless indicates that Manafort was open to receiving money from foreign countries while working for the presidential campaign. He earned an overall of $60 million for his work for the Ukrainian oligarchs aligned with Russia, which he hid overseas. As a result, he was convicted last year of financial fraud and failing to report the earnings and pay taxes.
Manafort’s deputy Rick Gates testified in court that some of the money came from Akhmetov through wire transfers between hidden bank accounts in Cyprus. The two men “knew each other well,” said another witness.
Akhmedov also introduced Manafort to Viktor Yanukovych, the leader of the Ukrainian Party of Regions. According to testimony from Manafort’s trial, Lyovochkin was a senior official in Yanukovych’s administration, and secretly funneled millions of dollars to Manafort for his political consulting.
Lyovochkin was implicated by federal prosecutors in a criminal scheme to steer foreign money to Trump’s inauguration committee.