Mueller Files New Charges Against Manafort, Gates

WASHINGTON (CN) – Special counsel Robert Mueller filed new charges on Thursday against former Trump campaign staffers Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, accusing them of tax and bank fraud.

A federal court in Virginia returned a 32-count superseding indictment charging Manafort and Gates with committing tax fraud, failing to file reports on foreign bank and financial accounts and bank fraud conspiracy.

According to the indictment, “from approximately 2006 through the present, Manafort and Gates engaged in a scheme to hide income from United States authorities, while enjoying the use of the money.”

Both of the men, serving as representatives for the Ukranian government, namely Ukraine’s president Viktor Yanukovych, allegedly often disguised their funds as loans to offshore foreign accounts.

For years, prosecutors claim, the hidden money went toward home improvements and refinancing their respective real estate purchases, but from 2015 through January 2017, Manafort – with Gates’ assistance – withdrew funds and funneled over $20 million through a loan scheme.

Using their properties as collateral to obtain loans from multiple financial institutions, Manafort would “falsely [inflate his] company’s income and [fail] to disclose existing debt,” the indictment states.

Huge sums were allegedly funneled toward foreign companies and bank accounts in Cyprus, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and the Seychelles.

“In total, more than $75 million flowed through offshore accounts,” the indictment states. “Manafort, with the assistance of Gates, laundered more than $30 million income that he concealed from the U.S. Department of Treasury, the Department of Justice and others.”

Gates alone obtained more than $3 million from offshore accounts – all of which he hid from authorities, prosecutors claim.

Among the dozens of entities controlled and operated by the former Trump aides, the most recent foreign entity formed was Pompolo Limited in the United Kingdom, according to the indictment. It was established in April 2013.

The most recently established domestic operation under Manafort and Gates’ control was the formation of MC Soho Holdings LLC, court papers show. MC Soho was established in Florida in January 2012 and then in New York that April.

MC Soho Holdings was one of the entities Manafort allegedly used as a funnel to purchase a $2.8 million condo in New York City. All of that money came from Manafort-Gates entities in Cyprus, the indictment states.

“Manafort used the property from at least January 2015 to August 2017 as an income generating rental property, charging thousands of dollars a week on AirBnB among other places. On his tax returns, Manafort took advantage of the beneficial tax consequences of owning this rental property,” the charging document says.

In March 2016, the men allegedly submitted doctored documents to a lender overstating the value of DMI, another Manafort entity, by $2 million, the amount a lender told Manafort he would need in order to qualify for the loan.

“When the document was first submitted to [the lender,] a conspirator working at [another lender] replied: “Looks Dr’d [sic]. Can’t someone just do a clean excel doc and pdf to me?” the indictment states.

Manafort’s spokesperson Jason Maloni said Thursday night his client would soon be vindicated.

“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,” Maloni said. “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.”

The White House did not immediately respond Thursday to a request for comment.

 

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