- The Washington Times
Thursday, February 22, 2018

Former Trump campaign officials Paul Manafort and Rick Gates face new charges, including bank fraud and submitting false tax returns, according to a 32-count indictment filed Thursday afternoon by special counsel Robert Mueller.

It is the second indictment against the two, who were charged in October with conspiracy and money laundering. Both have pleaded not guilty and will face trial later this year.

A new indictment might ratchet up the heat on Mr. Manafort and Mr. Gates to cooperate with the special counsel team’s investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

In the latest charges, prosecutors allege Mr. Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, and Mr. Gates, an associate and campaign aide, laundered millions of dollars through offshore bank accounts while acting as unregistered agents of the Ukrainian government.

The two generated tens of millions of dollars through their work for Ukraine, but since 2006 had engaged in an elaborate scheme to hide that income from the Treasury and Justice departments, prosecutors claimed. Roughly $75 million was funneled to offshore bank accounts in Cyprus and other locations controlled by Mr. Manafort.

In total, Mr. Manafort, with the help of Mr. Gates, laundered more than $40 million in income while Mr. Gates concealed about $3 million, prosecutors allege in court documents.

From about 2015 through January 2017 after former Ukraine President Victor Yanukovych fled to Russia, Mr. Manafort and Mr. Gates fraudulently obtained more than $20 million in loans from multiple financial institutions by inflating Mr. Manafort’s income and not disclosing his debts, Mr. Mueller’s team alleged.

“In furtherance of the scheme, Manafort used his hidden overseas wealth to enjoy a lavish lifestyle in the United States without paying taxes on that income,” the new indictment said.

Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni denied the charges and accused Mr. Mueller of overreach.

“Paul Manafort is innocent of the allegations set out in the newly filed indictments and he is confident that he will be acquitted of all charges. The new allegations against Mr. Manafort, once again, have nothing to do with Russia and 2016 election interference/collusion. Mr. Manafort is confident that he will be acquitted and violations of his constitutional rights will be remedied,” Mr. Maloni said.

Mr. Gates is alleged to have used the money to pay his mortgage, children’s tuition and the interior decorating of his Virginia house, according to court documents.

The two are also accused of “repeatedly and falsely” representing in Mr. Manafort’s tax filings that he did not have authority over any foreign bank accounts, when they had authority over several. Income from these accounts were disguised through doctored profit and loss statements that inflated Mr. Manafort’s income, according to court documents.

A federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia handed down the indictment because that is where some of the acts occurred, according to court documents.

“Based on our current evidence, venue for these charges do not exist in the District of Columbia,” the indictment said.

Mr. Mueller has been pursuing indictments with increased frequency. Last week, he charged 13 Russians and three Russian internet agencies with conspiracy to disrupt the 2016 presidential election through a social-media disinformation campaign.

On Tuesday, he indicted Dutch attorney Alex van der Zwaan with lying about his interaction with Mr. Gates. The attorney had worked with Mr. Manafort and Mr. Gates on a report to justify the jailing of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Dave Boyer contributed to this article.

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