From ‘Obama’s jews’ to a ‘European hot dog stand for a modern Ukraine’ – inside Paul Manafort’s conspiracy to defraud the government and conceal millions through off-shore accounts, bank loans and off-the-books lobbying
- New government charging documents reveal new details about former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort’s schemes
- He created a center for ‘Modern Ukraine’ in Brussels and claimed it, rather than the Ukrainian president and party, was his client
- A participating employee called it a ‘fig leaf on a fig leaf’
- Actively lobbied U.S. lawmakers and officials and engaged lobby firms despite failure to register
- Plan to ‘tarnish’ jailed Ukrainian leader Yulia Tymoshenko
- Personal updates to pro-Russia Ukrainian President Yanukovich
- Engaged ‘Obama jews’ to pressure administration
- Used Cyprus funds to buy $2.9 million Soho condo, charging thousands per week on Airbnb
- Bought homes with funds termed loans to avoid paying income taxes to the IRS
- Pushed ‘no fingerprints’ story that Ukrainian rival Yulia Tymoshenko had ‘paid for the murder of a Ukrainian official’
- Wanted to ‘plant some stink on Tymo’
New charging documents released by prosecutors revealed new details of former Donald Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort’s efforts to engage in off-the-books efforts to pressure the U.S. government on behalf of a Ukrainian political party.
Manafort banked $60 million over more than a decade, he admitted in his guilty plea Friday, concealing his earnings, avoiding taxation, and button-holing lawmakers and agency officials on the pro-Moscow government’s behalf without declaring his disguised influence work.
A key element involved the creation of the ‘Habsburg Group, consisting of European officials, as part of the lobby campaign, and the European Centre for the Modern Ukraine in Brussels as a way to ‘distance’ lobbying for Ukraine, the government said.
Yet Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates noted their ‘client’ had an Embassy in Washington – meaning the real client was the government of Ukraine.
New charging documents released by prosecutors revealed new details of former Donald Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort’s efforts to engage in off-the-books efforts to pressure the U.S. government on behalf of a Ukrainian political party
A participating company employee said the lobbying was on behalf of the center ‘in name only.’
The employee added: ‘It’s like Alice in Wonderland.’
An employee of another company called it ‘a fig leaf’ and Ukraine’s Party of Regions as ‘a fig leaf on a fig leaf.’
The employee in one email referred to the Centre as the ‘European hot dog stand for Modern Ukraine.
Although Manafort didn’t register as a lobbyist, he wrote detailed memos to Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovich summarizing his own efforts and that by a team of lobbyists.
‘The purpose of this memorandum is to la out a plan to manage the strategy, public relations and international affairs for President Yanukovich,’ Manafort wrote in a February 2010 memo to the Ukrainian president.
Manafort crafted a plan to create a European Centre for the Modern Ukraine in Brussels. One company employee in an email referred to the Centre as the ‘European hot dog stand for Modern Ukraine
Guilty: This is the moment Paul Manafort stood to accept his guilt at the Washington D.C. federal court hearing presided over by Judge Amy Berman Jackson
He took steps to ‘tarnish’ Yanukovich’s predecessor, Yulia Tymoshenko, the political rival Yanukovich had jailed.
One newly revealed document showed Manafort ‘orchestrated a scheme to have …'[O]bama jews’ put pressure on the administration’ to support Yanukovych and ‘disavow’ his rival, Tymoshenko.
This involved putting out stories that ‘a senior Cabinet official’ who previously criticized Yanukovych ‘was supporting anti-Semitism because the official supported Tymoshenko, who in turn had formed a political alliance with a Ukraine party that espoused anti-Semitic views.’
Guilty: Paul Manafort, 69, will stay behind bars awaiting sentencing, and faces up to 10 years in prison
The government charged Manafort ‘coordinated privately with a senior Israeli government official’ to issue a statement publicizing the story.
‘I have someone pushing it on the NY Post. Bada bing bada boom,’ he wrote.
He sought to have the administration ‘understand that ‘the Jewish community will take this out on Obama on election day if he does nothing,’ according to prosecutors.
When Congress took up a resolution to criticize Yanukovych, Manafort ‘engaged in an all-out campaign to try to kill or delay the passage of this resolution,’ according to prosecutors. He directed lobbyists to have a senator place a ‘hold’ on the legislation, but they didn’t reveal they were working for Ukraine.
Manafort used funds stashed in Cyprus to buy a $2.9 million Soho condo, charging thousands per week on Airbnb
He described a 2013 ‘lunch with congressman Ed Royce,’ who is the GOP chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and pronounced him ‘very sympathetic to our views and possibly willing to help.’
He met with Rep. Robert Aderholt, who according to Manafort was ‘minimally interested in Tymoshenko but understood the Russia problem’ an was ‘very concerned about Russian tactics on natural gas supply.’
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The lobbying and organization bore million in payments – but Manafort tried to shield the money. He set up a web of offshore accounts.
In just one instance, he used funds stashed in Cyprus to buy a $2.9 million Soho condo, charging thousands per week on Airbnb. It is one of the properties the government is forcing him to relinquish under the terms of his guilty plea.
He paid $3 million in cash from Cyprus to buy a Brooklyn brownstone.
Manafort cheated the government out of $15 million in taxes, he admitted.
Government charging documents lay out the elaborate plan by Manafort to assist Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, pictured here with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin
Manafort also directed efforts to discredit Yanukovich’s political rival, Yulia Tymoshenko, who was jailed after political rival took power
He disguised as ‘loans’ more than $13 million from entities in Cyprus, according to the government’s criminal information. He used a $1.5 million ‘loan’ to buy a property on Howard Street in Soho, avoiding having to declare it as income.
It was one of multiple loans that were ‘shams designed to reduce fraudulently Manafort’s reported taxable income.’
He took steps to make his Ukraine lobbying ‘as secret as possible.’
The array of Manafort schemes are revealed in a new government charging document released before his guilty plea
An employee whose firm was engaged by Manafort in one email referred to the Centre as the ‘European hot dog stand for Modern Ukraine
Manafort undertook a bizarre scheme to have ‘Obama jews’ pressure the administration to spread stories to make Yanukovich’s political rival look bad. He coordinated with a senior Israeli government official to push the story
In 2013, he directed lobbyists to ‘write and disseminate within the United States news stories that alleged that Tymoshenko had paid for the murder of a Ukrainian official.
He stated that it should be pushed with ‘no fingerprints.’
He emphasized: ‘It is very important to have no connection.’ A lobbyist objected but persons ‘D1 and D2’ ultimately complied. He didn’t disclose the lobbying.
Manafort ‘knew it was illegal’ to lobby the government without registering, knew he was lobbying for Ukraine, ‘intentionally’ led a multi-million lobby campaign without registering, and took steps to keep it ‘as secret as possible,’ according to the guilty plea he signed.
The Manafort-directed effort ‘lobbied dozens of Members of Congress, their staff, and White House and State Department officials about Ukraine sanctions, the validity of Ukraine elections, and the propriety of President Yanukovych’s imprisoning Tymoshenko, his presidential rival,’ according to the criminal information.
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