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
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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