06:54 GMT02 December 2020
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    Department of Justice (DOJ) special counsel Robert Mueller has filed new charges against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, former campaign advisers to US President Donald Trump. The men stand accused of laundering $30 million and are facing tax fraud, bank fraud and bank fraud conspiracy charges related to their work as lobbyists in Ukraine.

    According to the indictment, Manafort disguised over $10 million in income from his Cyprus bank as loans. Manafort and Gates, who also maintained bank accounts in Saint Vincent, the Grenandines and the Seychelles, allegedly lied to US tax authorities and told them they had no foreign bank accounts. 

    "Manafort and Gates generated tens of millions of dollars in income as a result of their Ukraine work. From approximately 2006 through the present Manafort and Gates engaged in scheme to hide income from United States authorities while enjoying the use of the money," the indictment reads.

    "During the first part of the scheme between approximately 2006 and 2015, Manafort, with Gates' assistance, failed to pay taxes on this income by disguising it as alleged loans from nominee offshore corporate entities and by making millions of dollars in unreported payments from foreign accounts to bank accounts they controlled and United States vendors."

    "Manafort also used the offshore accounts to purchase United States real estate, and Manafort and Gates used the undisclosed income to make improvements to and refinance their United States properties."

    The indictment goes on to claim that Manafort and Gates used those properties as collateral to illicitly acquire loans. The men then used these woebegotten funds in the US to support "a lavish lifestyle" for Manafort and college tuition for Gates' children.

    Manafort was indicted alongside Gates by Mueller in October. The two men have been accused of criminal misdoings during their work as lobbyists in Ukraine on behalf of former President Viktor Yanukovych and his Party of Regions: conspiracy to launder money, conspiracy to commit fraud, and failure to register as foreign agents.

    However, they were indicted as part of Mueller's special counsel investigation into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russian actors. None of the charges against Manafort or Gates, or indeed any of the 13 people or three organizations more recently indicted by Mueller, have been accused of collusion. Both the Trump team and the Russian government have consistently denied all charges of collusion.


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    Russia gate, US Department of Justice, Rick Gates, Paul Manafort, Viktor Yanukovich, Robert Mueller, Ukraine, Cyprus
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