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Paul Manafort

Paul Manafort

Former Trump Campaign Chairman and International Lobbyist for Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly

Paul Manafort and Deputy Rick Gates are indicted and under house arrest

Longtime Business Partner/Associate: Roger Stone

Longtime employee Konstantin Kilimnik

THE AMERICAN LOBBYIST WHO UNDERMINED A DEMOCRACY  AUGUST 21, 2018 WhoWhatWhy Ukrainian steel magnate Rinat Akhmetov hired Manafort in 2005 to update his image. Mafia godfather Akhmetov of E. Ukraine’s Donetsk Clan and Putin ally. “Akhmetov recruited Manafort to revamp Yanukovych’s image, and help prepare him for a second presidential run in 2010.  Manafort became Yanukovych’s closest political adviser. He established campaign headquarters in Kiev that was staffed by six American consultants and a group of Ukrainian translators and drivers. Konstantin Kilimnik, an intelligence officer trained by the Soviet Army, worked as Manafort’s translator and right-hand man.

In 2005, he struck a $10 million annual contract with the wealthy Russian steel magnate Oleg Deripaska to promote Russian interests in politics, business, and media coverage in Europe and the US.

Manafort also secured a major natural gas deal with Dmitry Firtash, a wealthy oligarch who was a middleman for Semion Mogilevich. Mogilevich, the Russian mafia’s “boss of bosses,” is the most dangerous member of organized crime there, according to the FBI. Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned natural-gas conglomerate, sold fuel to Firtash at a discounted rate. In turn, Firtash resold the gas to the Ukrainian government, and used the profit to fund Viktor Yanukovych’s campaign.

Yulia Tymoshenko, a pro-democracy Ukrainian politician, who allied with the Svoboda political party, entered the 2010 presidential race as Yanukovych’s political opponent. As a co-leader of the Orange Revolution, Tymoshenko became the first woman appointed prime minister of Ukraine, serving from January to September 2005, and again from December 2007 to March 2010. Tymoshenko, like Firtash, was a natural-gas broker, and the two became arch rivals. In a deal to cut out Firtash and the mafia, Tymoshenko attempted to strike a gas deal directly with Putin, but was unsuccessful. ” THE AMERICAN LOBBYIST WHO UNDERMINED A DEMOCRACY AUGUST 21, 2018 WhoWhatWhy 

In November and December of 2013, for example, the company transferred almost $53,000 to Konstantin Kilimnik, a Kiev-based political operator. It’s not known what the money was for. A federal law enforcement official described Kilimnik as a linguist trained by the Russian army and about whom the US has gathered intelligence. He reportedly attended a military school some experts believe to be a training ground for Russian spies. Kilimnik worked with Manafort for more than a decade, and the Washington Post reported that Manafort emailed his old partner in 2016 to offer “private briefings” to a Russian billionaire close to President Vladimir Putin.” BuzzFeed

Less than two weeks before Donald Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination, his campaign chairman offered to provide briefings on the race to a Russian billionaire closely aligned with the Kremlin, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Paul Manafort made the offer in an email to an overseas intermediary, asking that a message be sent to Oleg Deripaska, an aluminum magnate with whom Manafort had done business in the past, these people said.

“If he needs private briefings we can accommodate,” Manafort wrote in the July 7, 2016, email, portions of which were read to The Washington Post along with other Manafort correspondence from that time.”

Feds Subpoena Records for $3.5M Mystery Mortgage on Manafort’s Home NBC News

“A review of New York state and Suffolk County records shows the loan was made by S C 3, a subsidiary of Spruce Capital, which was co-founded by Joshua Crane, who has partnered with Donald Trump on real estate deals. Spruce is also partially funded by Ukrainian-American real-estate magnate Alexander Rovt, who tried to donate $10,000 to Trump’s presidential campaign on Election Day but had all but the legal maximum of $2,700 returned.” NBC News

“On the day he resigns from the Trump campaign, Manafort records documents creating Summerbreeze LLC, a shell company that he controls. Shortly thereafter, Summerbreeze receives a $3.5 million loan from Spruce Capital, a small New York investment firm. Spruce’s co-founder is a developer of Trump hotel projects, including Trump International Hotel and Tower in Waikiki. One of Spruce’s financial backers, Alexander Rovt, is a billionaire who made his fortune in the privatization of the fertilizer industry in post-Soviet Ukraine. On Feb. 1, 2016, Rovt had shared a Manor College stage forum about Ukraine with Andrii Artemenko, a pro-Putin member of the Ukraine Parliament. In January 2017, Artemenko would resurface at the Manhattan Loews Regency hotel on Park Avenue with long-time Trump business associate Felix Sater and Trump’s personal lawyer Michael D. Cohen. During their meeting, Sater gives Cohen a sealed envelope containing Artemenko’s Ukranian-Russian peace plan and asks him to deliver it to Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn. The plan would have leased Crimea to Russia for 50 or 100 years, essentially ceding to Putin the territory he had annexed illegally.” [Added April 17, 2017]Bill Moyers

Exclusive: Manafort flight records show deeper Kremlin ties than previously known

Embed from Getty Images

 


New York TimesBreaking News September 18, 2017 

With a Picked Lock and a Threatened Indictment, Mueller’s Inquiry Sets a Tone

“The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, then followed the house search with a warning: His prosecutors told Mr. Manafort they planned to indict him, said two people close to the investigation. Mr. Manafort is under investigation for possible violations of tax laws, money-laundering prohibitions and requirements to disclose foreign lobbying. “


Exclusive: US government wiretapped former Trump campaign chairman CNN

What lawmakers want to know from Manafort and Trump Jr.

With some of the closest members of President Trump’s campaign slated to testify before congressional panels investigating its ties with Russia, here’s what investigators want to ask Trump’s son and former campaign manager. (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)

July 26, 2017: Why is the FBI so interested in Paul Manafort that agents were literally at his door before dawn? Washington Post

Paul Manafort joined the Trump campaign on April 7, 2016, with sights on the Cleveland Convention.

August 19, 2016: “Manafort is fired from the campaign and replaced by Kellyanne Conway” NBC    “As reports of Manafort’s financial connections to Ukraine intensified, he resigns from the Trump campaign.”Bill Moyers

What Did Ex-Trump Aide Paul Manafort really do in Ukraine?  NBC News

Inside Trump adviser Manafort’s world of politics and global financial dealmaking

BREAKING NEWS: Manafort switching legal team as feds crank up heat on him 08/10/17 “Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is changing his attorneys as a federal investigation heats up into his financial transactions, according to people familiar with the matter. Manafort’s case will now be handled by Miller and Chevalier, a boutique firm in Washington that specializes in complicated financial crimes among other issues, these people said.”  Politico

MAY 12, 2017: Wall Street Journal: Former Trump Adviser Paul Manafort’s Bank Records Sought in Probe Federal investigators looking into Russian election interference requested information; New York investigators also examining his real-estate transactions Investigators sought bank records for Citizen Financial Group, Inc. in mid-April

Feds Subpoena Records for $3.5M Mystery Mortgage on Manafort’s Home NBC News

FBI Making Inquiries Into Ex-Trump Campaign Manager’s Foreign Ties: Ukraine, Turkey

August 18, 2016, Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau Facebook Page details Manafort’s payments in the black ledger

Flynn, Manafort Are Key Figures in Russia Probe That Mueller Will Lead

After the Shocking Donnie Jr. Meeting, Deciphering Paul Manafort’s Smoke Signals the Lynchpin to the Trump-Russia Scandal Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman has multiple Russian connections. Mueller’s investigators are searching for a pattern in them.”  Vanity Fair  


Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly a.k.a. The Torturer’s Lobby

Watch “Get Me Roger Stone!” on Netflix  Trailer  Understand the Evolution of the GOP from Reagan On. Manafort was right there, together with Trump from Day One.

Sourcewatch    Wikipedia    Roger Stone     FARA Registration August 2016

Manafort and Roger Stone’s lobbying company, the “Torturer’s Lobby” is known for working with the murderous dictators “including Mohamed Siad Barre of Somalia, dictator Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines,[3][4] dictator Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire,[5] and Jonas Savimbi of Angola.   Domestically the firm has represented Bethlehem Steel and Tobacco Institute, helped elect Senators Phil Gramm, Jesse Helms, Charles McCurdy Mathias Jr., Arlen Specter, Paula Hawkins and David F. Durenberger – and worked on legislation that benefitted the firm’s clients.

MOBUTU IN SEARCH OF AN IMAGE BOOST  Washington Post September 25, 1989

“Black, Manafort played an important part in keeping the Angola war going”  Harper’s Magazine  April 15, 2008

By accepting clients without regard to their actions and only caring about the money, the lobby group weakened ethics rules to create the first powerful, enriched lobbying agency and paved the way for what we see today.  Manafort and Stone began working with Trump in 1980 during his first shady dealings with the Italian mob and illegal immigrant labor that built Trump Tower. Manafort became of its first residents, and continued consulting him throughout his PR shenanigans as he bought into casinos, Trump’s first presidential candidacy push, and as his 2016 Campaign Manager, one of five US Presidential campaigns he’s consulted.

He has turned over documents to the Senate Intelligence Committee for review, as of May 22, 2017.  NBC  

“New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is also taking a “preliminary look” at Manafort’s real estate transactions, according to a separate source. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that the Justice Department has requested Manafort’s banking records.” May 16, 2017  NBC 

 

“On the day that the dossier came out in the press (January 10, 2017), Paul called Reince, as a responsible ally of the president would do, and said this story about me is garbage, and a bunch of the other stuff in there seems implausible,” said a person close to Manafort. Manafort had been forced to resign as Trump’s campaign chairman five months earlier amid scrutiny of his work for Kremlin-aligned politicians and businessmen in Eastern Europe. But he had continued talking to various members of Trump’s team and had even had at least two conversations with Trump, according to people close to Manafort or Trump. According to a GOP operative familiar with Manafort’s conversation with Priebus, Manafort suggested the errors in the dossier discredited it, as well as the FBI investigation, since the bureau had reached a tentative (but later aborted) agreement to pay the former British spy to continue his research and had briefed both Trump and then-President Barack Obama on the dossier. Manafort told Priebus that the dossier was tainted by inaccuracies and by the motivations of the people who initiated it, whom he alleged were Democratic activists and donors working in cahoots with Ukrainian government officials, according to the operative. Manafort discussed with other Trump allies the possibility of launching a countervailing investigation into efforts by Ukrainian government officials who allegedly worked in conjunction with allies of Trump’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton to damage Trump’s campaign, according to the operative. The operative added that Manafort saw such an investigation as a way to distract attention from the parallel FBI and congressional Russia probes.” Politico   

While the White House isn’t talking, these same arguments and suspicions have been used in Republican circles to discredit intelligence and build suspicion elsewhere.

“Over a 40-year career as a lobbyist and political consultant, Manafort and his firms have advised, in no particular order, a business group tied to Ferdinand Marcos, the dictator of the Philippines; Viktor Yanukovych, the ousted Ukrainian president and ally of Vladimir Putin; and Lynden Pindling, the former Bahamian prime minister who was accused of ties to drug traffickers…He resides, at least part of the time, in Trump Tower in Manhattan, where he has an apartment. He and Trump have met over the years in the lobby and elevators.

Manafort splits time in Florida, New York and Alexandria, Va., and travels internationally often, and for weeks or months at a time, consulting for foreign governments, several friends said.” Washington Post


How Trump adviser Manafort revived his career — and business fortunes — in Ukraine Washington Post

“Paul Manafort, who managed an investment fund for a Russian aluminum magnate with close ties to Putin. Manafort resigned from the campaign days after his name was found in a ledger designating funds to be paid out from the party of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, who was ousted in a pro-European street revolution in 2014…Yevgen Kopachko, a pollster who worked with Yanukovych on parliamentary and presidential campaigns, said that Manafort had a “phenomenal ability to work with sociological information. In another business venture, Oleg Deripaska, a Russian aluminum magnate, accused Manafort in a court in the Cayman Islands of taking nearly $19 million intended for investments, then not accounting for the money, returning it or responding to numerous inquiries about exactly how the money was used. In his legal filing, Deripaska said he expected that the money would be used to make acquisitions in Russia, Ukraine and other countries in eastern and southern Europe. Instead, the petition argues, the partnership made only one purchase: buying a stake in Ukrainian cable television and Internet ventures. Deripaska, squeezed by the 2008 credit crunch, asked for the partnership to be liquidated and his money returned, according to Deripaska’s petition. But the filing said it was unclear who was controlling the Ukrainian cable TV and Internet assets and what happened to the money Deripaska initially provided.” Washington Post

How Paul Manafort Wielded Power in Ukraine Before Advising Donald Trump NY Times “Mr. Manafort’s influence in the country was significant, and his political expertise deeply valued, according to Ukrainian politicians and officials who worked with him. He also had a voice in decisions about major American investments in Ukraine, said a former spokesman for Ukraine’s foreign ministry, Oleg Voloshyn, who also ran as a candidate in the new bloc Mr. Manafort helped form.”

How Trump’s campaign chief got a strongman elected president of Ukraine The Guardian

Manafort’s man in Kiev: The Trump campaign chairman’s closeness to a Russian Army-trained linguist turned Ukrainian political operative is raising questions, concerns.   Politico

“The protégé, Konstantin Kilimnik, has had conversations with fellow operatives in Kiev about collecting unpaid fees owed to Manafort’s company by a Russia-friendly political party called Opposition Bloc, according to operatives who work in Ukraine.

A Russian Army-trained linguist who has told a previous employer of a background with Russian intelligence, Kilimnik started working for Manafort in 2005 when Manafort was representing Ukrainian oligarch Rinat Akhmetov, a gig that morphed into a long-term contract with Viktor Yanukovych, the Kremlin-aligned hard-liner who became president of Ukraine.

“A former trucking official who had been convicted and incarcerated as a teenager for serious crimes, Yanukovych had become a popular symbol of the corruption that plagues Ukraine after his team tried to rig the 2004 presidential election. A series of protests, which became known as the Orange Revolution, forced a re-vote, which Yanukovych lost.

While Manafort initially protested that Yanukovych was too deeply flawed to revive, Akhmetov eventually prevailed upon his American consultant to help Yanukovych and his political party, the Party of Regions, try to make a comeback in the 2006 parliamentary elections. Manafort and his team, including Kilimnik, set about to recast Yanukovych as an inspiring leader who could work with the West. Under Manafort’s guidance, Yanukovych began studying English, and communicated in Ukrainian with the pro-European western part of the country, while using Russian to push pro-Russian themes in the east, which is linguistically, culturally and religiously aligned with Russia.Manafort also implemented polling, micro-targeting and get-out-the-vote strategies that are de rigueur in American politics, but which Yanukovych had not previously used. Manafort even coached Yanukovych on his appearance, reportedly urging him to start blow-drying his hair, though one Manafort associate called the blow-drying claim a myth that was “total bullshit.”

Remarking on the transformation, a U.S. diplomat, in a hacked cable posted on WikiLeaks, wrote that the “Party of Regions is working to change its image from that of a haven for mobsters into that of a legitimate political party. Tapping the deep pockets of [Akhmetov], Regions has hired veteran K Street political help for its ‘extreme makeover’ effort … [Manafort’s firm] is among the political consultants that have been hired to do the nipping and tucking.” Kilimnik was key to this effort, according to several people who worked with the team.”  Politico


Former Trump Campaign Head Manafort Was Paid Millions By A Putin Ally, AP Says    [Oleg Deripaska]

“According to documents that we’ve reviewed, Paul Manafort secretly worked for a Russian oligarch who wanted him to promote Russian interests,” the AP’s Chad Day tells NPR’s Rachel Martin. “And in particular, he wrote a memo that outlined this kind of vast plan for him to promote Russian interests in the former Soviet republics — and also to specifically benefit the Putin government.”The financial arrangement dates to at least 2006, when Manafort signed a $10 million yearly contract with Russian aluminum tycoon Oleg Deripaska“, a close Putin ally, Day says. Their business relationship lasted through at least 2009, according to Day’s story for the AP.”   NPR

March 22, 2017, “Manafort proposed in a confidential strategy plan as early as June 2005 that he would influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and former Soviet republics to benefit President Vladimir Putin’s government, even as U.S.-Russia relations under Republican President George W. Bush grew worse.White House’s Sean Spicer says President Donald Trump had not been aware of Paul Manafort’s work on behalf of a Russian billionaire. “To suggest that the president knew who his clients were from 10 years ago is a bit insane,” Spicer said. (March 22) Manafort pitched the plans to aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, a close Putin ally with whom Manafort eventually signed a $10 million annual contract beginning in 2006, according to interviews with several people familiar with payments to Manafort and business records obtained by the AP. Manafort and Deripaska maintained a business relationship until at least 2009, according to one person familiar with the work.” AP News

 “Report: Russian Billionaire Linked To Manafort Seeks Immunity To Testify Oleg Deripaska, who had Trump’s former campaign manager on a $10 million annual contract, is apparently ready to sing. ” Huff Post   Oleg “Deripaska and Manafort worked together on an offshore fund in 2007 that quickly folded. During the time of the contract, Manafort was working as a campaign consultant to candidates in the Ukraine backed by the Kremlin. Deripaska, who has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, traveled several times to the U.S. from 2011 to 2014 on a diplomatic passport, according to the Times. He was unable to obtain regular business visas for travel to the U.S. because of suspicions by American officials that he was linked to the Russian mob — which Deripaska has denied.”


 

 

Feds Subpoena Records for $3.5M Mystery Mortgage on Manafort’s Home NBC News  “Manafort’s name does not appear on the UCC filing, but Summerbreeze LLC gives his Florida address as a contact, and lists his Bridgehampton home as collateral. A review of New York state and Suffolk County records shows the loan was made by S C 3, a subsidiary of Spruce Capital, which was co-founded by Joshua Crane, who has partnered with Donald Trump on real estate deals…The mortgage notice for the loan, however, was never entered into government records by the lender. A mortgage notice normally names the lender, and gives the interest rate, the frequency with which payments must be made, and the length of the mortgage. Real estate experts contacted by NBC News called the omission “highly unusual,” though not illegal…Baldinger said Spruce Capital had required that Manafort create the LLC to receive the loan, and that the Hamptons property had previously been held in the name of Kathleen Manafort, Paul’s wife. Baldinger said that Manafort himself was never the borrower. The deed for the Bridgehampton house was transferred from Kathleen Manafort to Summberbreeze LLC in December 2016. There is also a question as to how the loan came about and how the lender and borrower were introduced. Two people involved say that independent broker Millenium Estates LLC brought the deal to Spruce. However, Manafort’s spokesperson Maloni said Millenium wasn’t the independent broker. Baldinger said that the relationship with Spruce Capital originated with an independent mortgage broker who was introduced to Manafort by Manafort’s son-in-law. “The broker then introduced me to Spruce Capital,” said Baldinger. “Prior to the transaction, Mr. Manafort had no knowledge of either the broker, Spruce Capital, or its principals. After the repayment of the loan, Mr. Manafort had no further dealings or contact with Spruce Capital or its principals, nor had he any reason to be in any contact with them…Manafort’s LLC, Summerbreeze, took out a new $9.5 million loan in December (2016) using the Hamptons property as part of the collateral. The lender is Federal Savings Bank of Chicago, whose chief executive Steve Calk was an economic adviser to the Trump campaign. NBC News and other media outlets reported in March that Manafort had used LLCs to buy four properties in New York City between 2006 and 2014 for cash, and had then taken out mortgages on them.” NBC News

“In mid-April, federal investigators requested Mr. Manafort’s banking records from Citizens Financial Group Inc., the people said.  It isn’t clear whether Citizens is the only bank that received such a request or whether it came in the form of a subpoena. Federal law generally requires that a bank receive a subpoena to turn over customer records, lawyers not connected to the investigation said.  Citizens gave Mr. Manafort a $2.7 million loan last year to refinance debt on a Manhattan condominium and borrow additional cash..Separately, investigators for New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman as well as Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. also have been examining real-estate transactions by Mr. Manafort, who has spent and borrowed tens of millions of dollars in connection with property across the U.S. over the past decade…Anticorruption officials in Ukraine, working with the FBI, are investigating a ledger found in Ukraine, where Mr. Manafort long worked as a consultant for a pro-Russia political party. The ledger lists $12.7 million in purported cash payments from that party to Mr. Manafort or affiliated entities…In late March, the Journal reported that Mr. Manafort had borrowed $16 million from a bank run by a former Trump campaign adviser after the election to salvage troubled investments, according to real-estate and court records. Steve Calk, who runs the Federal Savings Bank, a small bank in Chicago, declined to comment on whether his bank had been contacted by federal investigators…The Journal also reported that since the mid-2000s, around the time Mr. Manafort started working as a political adviser to wealthy pro-Russia politicians in the Ukrainian Party of Regions, he and immediate family members bought at least six properties in New York, Florida and Virginia for more than $16 million, property records show.  Also in late March, WNYC public radio station reported on Mr. Manafort’s use of corporate entities to purchase multimillion-dollar properties without mortgages, some of which he later took loans against. NBC News reported around the same time that a Cyprus bank had investigated accounts associated with Mr. Manafort for possible money laundering, and that he had closed them after questions were raised.” Wall Street Journal, May 13, 2017


August 18, 2016, Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau Facebook Page details Manafort’s payments in the black ledger:
“In response to numerous requests from mass media regarding mentioning the name of Paul Manafort on the Party of Regions ‘black ledger’ (documents passed to the National Anti-Corruption Bureau by the Ex-first-deputy of the State Security Service of Ukraine Victor Trepak), the National Anti-Corruption Bureau informs on the following.

Paul Manafort is among those names on the list of the so-called “black ledger” of the Party of Regions, which is investigated by the detectives of National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine. According to the lists, a total sum of over 12.7 million US dollars was allocated on the costs associated with this person since 20.11.2007. The last entry on the lists about P. Manafort is dated on October 5, 2012.

We emphasize that mentioning P.Manafort’s name on the list does not mean that he actually got the money, because the signatures that appear in the column of recipients could belong to other people.

To avoid rumors and speculations, the NABU is publishing copies of 19 pages, containing 22 items related to the name of Paul Manafort.

1. 20.11.07 – $455 249 – (payment from the 3d parties to Manafort US)
2. 20.11.07 – $6 374 – (payment of services with regards to Manafort)
3. 18.09.(09?) – $ 4 632 – (7 personal computers Manafort)
4. 14.10.09 – $750 000 – (Manafort)
5. 26.10.09 – $854 –  (Server to Manafort)
6. 9.11.09 – $ 6000 –  (Expenses for payment to Manafort)
7. 9.11.09 – $ 6000 – (Expenses for payment to Manafort)
8. 30.11.09 – $500 000 – (Payment on Manafort)
9. 09.12.09 – $6000 – (Expenses for payment to Manafort)
10. 14.12.09 – $ 1 300 000 – (Payment Manafort)
11. 16.12.09 – $15 600 – (Expenses for payment to Manafort as of 14.12)
12. 18.01.10 – $1 075 000 – (Contract Manafort)
13. 08.04.10 – $ 846 000 – (P. Manafort – expenses in Ukraine)
14. 22.09.10 –$ 750 000 – (Manafort)
15. 04.11.10 – $ 1 150 000 – (Payment of the contract Manafort)
16. 27.04.11 – $142 000 – (Payment for Manafort’s services)
17. 30.05.11 – $300 000 – (Payment Manafort)
18. 11.10.11 – $135 000 – (Paul Manafort)
19. 21.06.12 – $3 468 693 – (Paul Manafort Contract)
20. 10.07.12 – $645 000 – (Manafort sociology)
21. 09.10.12 – $400 000 – (Manafort exit poll in real time)
22. 09.10.12 – $12 467 – (Manafort, foreign observers)”


THE DEMISE 0F CAMPAIGN MANAGER PAUL MANAFORT

CHRISTOPHER STEELE DOSSIER PAGE 20

COMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/105

Summary

Ex-Ukrainian President YANUKOVYCH confides directly to PUTIN that he authorised kick-back payments to MANAFORT, as alleged in western media. Assures Russian President however there is no documentary evidence/trail

PUTIN and Russian leadership remain worried however and sceptical that YANUKOVYCH has fully covered the traces of these payments to former campaign manager

Close associate of TRUMP explains reasoning behind recent resignation. Ukraine revelations played part but others wanted MANAFORT out for various reasons, especially LEWANDOWSKI who remains influential

Detail

1.Speaking in late August 2016, in the immediate aftermath of Paul MANAFORT’s resignation as campaign manager for US Republican presidential candidate Donald TRUMP, a well-placed Russian figure reported on a recent meeting between President PUTIN and ex-President YANUKOVYCH of Ukraine. This had been held in secret on 15 August near Volgograd, Russia and the western media revelations about MANAFORT and Ukraine had featured prominently on the agenda. YANUKOVYCH had confided in PUTIN that he did authorise and order substantial kick-back payments to MANAFORT as alleged but sought to reassure him that there was no documentary trail left behind which could provide clear evidence of this.

2. Given YANUKOVYCH’s (unimpressive) record in covering up his own corrupt tracks in the past, PUTIN and others in the Russian leadership were sceptical about the ex-Ukrainian president’s reassurances on this as relating to MANAFORT. They therefore still feared the scandal had legs, especially as MANAFORT had been commercially active in Ukraine right up to the time (in March 2016) when he joined campaign team. For them it therefore remained a point of potential political vulnerability and embarrassment.

3. Speaking separately, also in late August 2016, an American political figure associated with Donald TRUMP and his campaign outlined the reasons behind MANAFORT’s recent demise. /he said it was true that the Ukraine corruption revelations had played a part in this but also, several senior players close to TRUMP had wanted MANAFORT out, primarily to loosen his control on strategy and policy formulation. Of particular importance in this regard was predecessor as campaign manager, Corey LEWANDOWSKI, who hated MANAFORT personally and remained close to TRUMP with whom he discussed the presidential campaign on a regular basis.

22 August 2016

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