Thursday, October 18, 2018

Former Trump campaign chairman surrenders to FBI after being indicted on 12 counts

“Manafort used his hidden overseas wealth to enjoy a lavish lifestyle in the United States without paying taxes on that income.”

Paul Manafort, along with his longtime associate Rick Gates, were indicted on Monday for money laundering and other various offenses.

Manafort is a former campaign chairman to President Trump. Rick Gates acted as an unpaid, de facto campaign manager for Trump for a few months during his campaign last year.

Manafort and Gates, who surrendered to the FBI Monday morning, could face up to 40 years in prison if found guilty on all charges. The two men will most likely lose most of their assets if they are found guilty.

The two men were charged with 12 counts, including money laundering, conspiracy to commit offense or defraud the United States, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading FARA statements, false statements, and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.

Manafort and Gates are the first to be charged in the ongoing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, though none of the charges seem to connect the men directly with any Russian meddling. Instead, it focuses on their years as political consultants and lobbyists working with Ukraine.

The men are accused of receiving tens of millions of dollars for their Ukraine work and attempting to hide it through “scores of United States and foreign corporations, partnerships, and bank accounts.” Both men were required to report the work and income to the United States, which they did not, and when asked by the Justice Department, they lied about it.

According to the indictment, “Manafort used his hidden overseas wealth to enjoy a lavish lifestyle in the United States without paying taxes on that income,” and “As part of the scheme, Manafort and Gates repeatedly provided false information to financial bookkeepers, tax accountants and legal counsel, among others.”

Of course, President Trump tweeted about the charges:

Shortly after Manafort and Gates were charged, George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign adviser, pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI relating to his contact with a professor with ties to Kremlin officials.

Papadopoulos admitted that he lied in his January interview with the FBI when he said he met with the professor before becoming a campaign adviser, when in reality he met with him shortly after joining the campaign. Court documents show the professor took interest in him “because of his status with the campaign.”

Robert Mueller was assigned in May to investigate whether anyone close to President Trump colluded with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election.

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