“The arrest of President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort Monday and former Trump campaign official Rick Gates saddled the White House with a grave new political reality.”
When people are faced with prison, priorities change. Paul Manafort and Rick Gates are longtime business partners. They have been charged in a 12-count indictment including a claim that they conspired launder money, making false statements, conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, 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.”
The special counsel alleged that for nearly a decade, the two men laundered money through scores of U.S. and foreign corporations, partnerships and bank accounts, and gave false statements to the Justice Department and others when asked about their work on behalf of a foreign entity.
All told, more than $75 million flowed through offshore accounts, the special counsel alleged. It’s being alleged that Manafort laundered more than $18 million, using his wealth acquired overseas to “enjoy a lavish lifestyle” in the United States, purchasing multi-million dollar properties and paying for home renovation.
According to the indictment, Manafort and Gates arranged to hire two Washington-based lobbying firms to work on behalf of their Ukrainian clients, arranging meetings with U.S. officials and boosting their public image in the United States.
Prosecutors say, however, that Manafort and Gates arranged for a Brussels-based nonprofit to nominally hire the companies to hide the fact that their work was for Ukrainian government officials and would otherwise require registration under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
In fact, prosecutors allege, Manafort was communicating directly with then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych about the effort, promising in 2012 to provide him weekly updates about the effort.
To further obscure Ukrainian involvement in the lobbying effort, prosecutors say payments to the Washington firms were routed through obscure offshore companies. Prosecutors say that when the Department of Justice approached Manafort and Gates in 2016 and 2017 about whether they should have registered as foreign agents for the work, they responded with false and misleading letters, indicating they had not directed the lobbying effort and asserting they did not hold records reflecting their work, even though later searches showed they did, according to the indictment.
Manafort and Gates also were accused of willfully and intentionally trying to hide monies kept in foreign bank accounts — Manafort from 2011 to 2014 and Gates from 2012 to 2014 . And Manafort was accused of filing fraudulent tax returns — stating on tax forms he filed from 2008 to 2014 that he controlled no foreign bank accounts.
The men made tens of millions of dollars for themselves. From 2008 to 2014, Manafort arranged to wire $12 million from offshore accounts to pay for personal expenses – including $5 million to a home renovation contractor in the Hamptons, more than $1.3 million to a home entertainment and lighting vendor based in Florida, $934,000 to an antique rug dealer in Alexandria, and $849,000 to a men’s clothier in New York.
The significant of the specific allegations indicates Mueller has obtained evidence of specific, revealing, wrong doing on the part of Manafort and Gates.
Manafort joined the Trump campaign in March 2016, and Trump tapped him to serve as campaign chairman in May of that year. Manafort left in August 2016, but Gates, his business partner and protege, continued to play an important role with the campaign even after Manafort’s departure. After the election Gates directed the inauguration plans, including fundraising, under Tom Barrack, Trump’s close friend and adviser.
FBI agents working for Mueller raided Manafort’s home in Alexandria in late July, armed with a search warrant that allowed them to enter at dawn without warning the occupants. Such an invasive search is only allowed after prosecutors have persuaded a federal judge that they have evidence of a crime and they have reasonable concern that key evidence could be destroyed or withheld.
There is still speculation that Mueller hopes to induce the two men to cooperate with investigators regarding evidence against Donald Trump. Remember that Robert Mueller is now working with New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. The significance of Schneiderman being involved is that he can bring state criminal charges. Trump is not empowered to pardon a criminals convicted of violation of State laws.
In case you are having a hard time remembering what evidence Mueller has on Trump, review a post done two months ago.
Trump must be feeling the heat!