Manafort Made More Than $60 Million in Ukraine, Mueller Says
(Bloomberg) -- Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s onetime campaign chairman, earned more than $60 million as a political consultant in Ukraine, U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller said on the eve of his criminal trial, providing the first tally of Manafort’s income there.
Prosecutors intend to prove that Manafort made that much and “failed to report a significant percentage of it on his tax returns,” according to a filing by Mueller on Monday in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. Jury selection begins Tuesday in Manafort’s bank- and tax-fraud trial.
Lawyers for Manafort asked the judge to bar jurors from seeing 51 exhibits detailing his work over a decade in Ukraine, where he advised former President Viktor Yanukovych, his Party of Regions and its successor, the Opposition Bloc. Manafort argued that the 474 pages include “irrelevant, prejudicial and unnecessarily time-consuming evidence.”
But in response, Mueller’s prosecutors said the exhibits proved “the precise manner in which Manafort worked for Ukraine,” including how he worked on the presidential election in 2010 and parliamentary elections in 2012. He also worked on local elections and did political consulting and lobbying work for Yanukovych.
“The documents establish the breadth of the work that Manafort performed, including commissioning television ads, writing speeches and carrying on campaign-related activities,” according to the filing. “There is nothing prejudicial about documents setting forth how the ads were made, how consultants were paid and who approved their work.”
Some exhibits also show how some Ukrainian oligarchs paid Manafort through foreign accounts, particularly in Cyprus. The indictment of Manafort said he made “tens of millions” of dollars in Ukraine from 2006 to 2015, moved money from Cyprus to pay U.S. vendors to fund a lavish lifestyle and avoided paying taxes on income by disguising it as loans from offshore shell companies. It said that $75 million flowed through the accounts and that he laundered $30 million.
The emails and memorandums in dispute contain evidence about the identity of sources of income in Ukraine, particularly “the oligarchs who instituted the practice of paying Manafort via foreign accounts,” the filing said.
Although prosecution witnesses will testify about the work Manafort did and how he was paid, it would be “fundamentally unfair” to keep jurors from seeing evidence that corroborates such testimony, according to the filing.
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