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22 Feb, 2018 21:50

Mueller charges Manafort & Gates with laundering over $30mn in Ukraine lobbying income

Mueller charges Manafort & Gates with laundering over $30mn in Ukraine lobbying income

US special counsel Robert Mueller has filed a new indictment against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his business partner Rick Gates, which appears unrelated to the 2016 US presidential election.

The 32-count indictment filed on Thursday at the federal court in Washington, DC charges Manafort and Gates with laundering more than $30 million in funds they earned from lobbying work in Ukraine, which ended in 2014.

Other charges include sixteen counts of fraudulent individual tax returns, as well as failing to disclose foreign bank accounts and misrepresenting more than $10 million in income, from Cyprus-based companies, as loans.

Mueller’s original indictment against Manafort and Gates, filed in October 2017, contained twelve counts, seven of which were “failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.” The rest referred to money-laundering, tax evasion and false or misleading Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) statements.

Manafort and Gates worked as lobbyists for various governments in Ukraine from 2006 to 2015 and conspired to shield the income derived from the work from being taxed by the US government, according to the indictment.

“In total, more than $75,000,000 flowed through the offshore accounts. MANAFORT, with the assistance of GATES, laundered more than $30,000,000, income that he concealed from the United States Department of the Treasury (Treasury), the Department of Justice, and others,” the indictment reads.

Gates himself was accused of obtaining $3 million from the offshore accounts, and of concealing them from Treasury.

President Donald Trump has maintained that charges against Manafort and Gates have nothing to do with his campaign, which Manafort managed between June and August of 2016.

Mueller, a former FBI director, was appointed special counsel in May 2017, after Trump fired James Comey from the FBI top job and Democrats accused him (Trump) of obstructing the probe into their claims that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.

A grand jury in Virginia has filed a 32-count indictment charging ex-Trump campaign chiefs Paul J. Manafort, Jr., and Richard W. Gates III with federal tax and bank fraud allegations.

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