Manafort Accused Of Advancing Putin's Interests In 2005


Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman for President Donald Trump's successful 2016 presidential campaign, is alleged to have accepted millions of dollars to advance the interest of the Russian government in 2005.

According to a report by the Associated Press, documents provided by anonymous sources allegedly familiar with the matter make the case that Manafort received $10 million to advance the business interests of Oleg Deripaska, a Russian magnate and close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"We are now of the belief that this model can greatly benefit the Putin Government if employed at the correct levels with the appropriate commitment to success," Manafort is said to have written in a 2005 memo to Deripaska. Doing so, Manafort wrote, "will be offering a great service that can re-focus, both internally and externally, the policies of the Putin government."

Manafort told the AP that he did indeed work for Deripaska, but that his work was not done to help the Russian government.

"I worked with Oleg Deripaska almost a decade ago representing him on business and personal matters in countries where he had investments," Manafort said. "My work for Mr. Deripaska did not involve representing Russia's political interests."

Manafort also said that his long career as a political consultant for a wide array of business people and government leaders around the world was being portrayed as "inappropriate or nefarious" and part of a "smear campaign" against him.

The AP report comes at the same time Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian lawmaker and journalist known for his anti-Putin sentiment, accused Manafort of laundering $750,000 paid to him by the party of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych , a pro-Russia leader who was ousted in 2014.

Leshchenko said he has documents, including an invoice with Manafort's Virginia-based company's letterhead, for 501 computers totaling $750,000 to a Belize-based company.

"I have found during this investigation that [Manafort] used offshore jurisdictions and falsified invoices to get money from the corrupt Ukrainian leader," Leshchenko said at a news conference in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, according to the Washington Post.

Manafort worked as a political consultant for Yanukovych and his party for several years.

In August 2016, Manafort resigned from his position as Trump's campaign chairman after reports surfaced that he had received millions of dollars in cash payments from Yanukovych's political party for his consultancy work.

Manafort is a longtime political consultant and lobbyist who signed a $1 million contract with former Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos in 1985. Since then, his list of clients have included Lebanese businessmen, French presidential candidates, and former Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, according to the Guardian.

Sources: Associated Press, Washington Post, Guardian (2) / Photo Credit: Disney/ABC Television Group/ Flickr

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