09:20 GMT +325 June 2018
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    Paul Manafort, senior advisor to Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump, exits following a meeting of Donald Trump's national finance team at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York City, U.S. (File)

    New Indictment: Manafort Secretly Paid Politicians to Lobby for Ukraine

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    The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has unsealed a February 16 indictment against Paul Manafort, briefly the campaign chair for US President Donald Trump in the 2016 election. Manafort now stands accused of paying European politicians to take positions favorable to Ukraine while working as a lobbyist for then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

    The charges were filed on Friday by the DOJ. The new indictment alleges that Manafort wired over 2 million euros ($2.49 million) to unnamed European politicians while working as a lobbyist for Yanukovych from 2004 to 2010.

    "In 2012 and 2013, Manafort used at least four offshore accounts to wire more than 2 million euros to pay the group of former politicians," the superceding indictment reads.

    "Manafort explained in an 'EYES ONLY' memorandum created in or about June 2012 that the purpose of the 'SUPER VIP' effort would be to 'assemble a small group of high-level European highly influencial [sic] champions and politically credible friends who can act informally and without any visible relationship with the Government of Ukraine…' As explained by Manafort, a nongovernmental agency would be created to retain this group, but it would act 'at our quiet direction.'"

    Manafort already stood accused of conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, failing to file financial records, failing to register as a foreign agent, and making false statements. He pleaded not guilty to all charges in October.

    On Thursday, he was charged with creating false tax returns, bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and additional charges of failing to file financial records. All charges filed against Manafort were filed alongside similar charges against his deputy and business partner, Rick Gates, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy and making false statements to the FBI earlier on Friday.

    The charges were filed by DOJ special counsel Robert Mueller, who was appointed in April to investigate allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian actors. Both Moscow and the Trump campaign have continuously denied all charges of collusion, and none of the charges filed by Mueller thus far suggest that there was any sort of collusion.

    Related:

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    Manafort, Gates Sued by Cyprus Company for Financial Fraud
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    Tags:
    indictment, charges, Russia Gate, Victor Yanukovych, Paul Manafort, Robert Mueller, Donald Trump, Ukraine
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