Special Counsel Mueller Files New Charges against Manafort and Gates

Special Counsel Mueller Files New Charges against Manafort and Gates

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WASHINGTON (TIP): Special Counsel Robert Mueller filed, February 22, new fraud and money-laundering charges against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates.

In the 37-page indictment, prosecutors 
describe a “scheme” in which the two longtime business partners 
allegedly laundered $30 million, failed to pay taxes for almost 10 years
 and used real estate they owned to fraudulently secure more than $20 
million in loans.

The indictments show increasing pressure
 from Mueller on the former top Trump campaign officials and highlight 
his aggressive effort to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 
presidential election and any related matters uncovered during the 

Last Friday, the special counsel 
produced grand jury indictments for 13 Russian nationals, accusing them 
of operating a misinformation campaign to hurt Hillary Clinton‘s presidential effort.

In the indictment released Thursday, 
prosecutors allege Manafort and Gates “hid the existence and ownership 
of the foreign companies and bank accounts” they oversaw and laundered 
more than $30 million in income.

Some of the fraud was possible because 
the men disguised their income as “loans” from shell corporations they 
ran, the prosecutors said.

More than $75 million dollars flowed 
through offshore accounts the men had set up in foreign countries, 
including Cyprus, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Seychelles, the
 indictment alleges. These are small island nations where local laws 
make it easy to park money.

Manafort used some of the money to buy 
real estate in the US, and they both used the money on home improvement 
and to refinance their mortgages, the indictment alleges. They also 
allegedly used money from their offshore accounts to pay for luxury 
goods, and, in Gates’ case, for his mortgage and children’s tuition.

They were able to defraud banks because 
of the tens of millions of dollars they earned doing Ukrainian political
 work and lobbying from 2006 until 2015, the prosecutors allege.

Manafort faces 18 new charges in Virginia, while Gates faces 23 new charges.

Already, the pair face a combined 12 
criminal charges in federal court in Washington for alleged money 
laundering and failing to disclose banking information and foreign 
lobbying work they did prior to 2015. Those charges are also connected 
to the offshore accounts in the new indictment.

Manafort and Gates pleaded not guilty to those charges in October.

Thursday’s indictment adds more pressure
 on Manafort and Gates as their Washington trial approaches this year. 
With mounting legal expenses and the potential for lengthy prison 
sentences, Manafort and Gates might reconsider cutting a deal with 
Mueller’s team.


But they can only make a deal if they 
have valuable information that Mueller can use in other prosecutions. 
Gates could testify against Manafort, and Manafort could testify about 
any potential crimes he witnessed during Trump’s presidential campaign —
 if any occurred.


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