- Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, and his associate Rick Gates have been indicted on charges including money laundering and tax fraud.
- Manafort allegedly laundered over $US18 million, which he is said to have obtained illegally from the Ukrainian government and political leaders between 2006 and 2015.
- The indictment says Manafort enjoyed a “lavish” lifestyle, including many multi-million properties and spending on “personal items” from Range Rovers to rugs and clothing.
President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, along with his business associate, Rick Gates, were indicted Monday morning on a range of charges.
The charges, filed by special counsel Robert Mueller, include money laundering of more than $US21 million — $US18 million by Manafort and $US3 million by Gates — beginning in 2006 and lasting through at least 2016. Both men surrendered to the FBI Monday morning.
Manafort and Gates allegedly received the money by acting as unregistered agents of the government of Ukraine, its former President Victor Yanukovych, and the Opposition Bloc, according to the indictment. All payments received from Ukraine and its political parties and leaders were allegedly hidden from the US government and the IRS.
Money laundering occurs when illegally obtained money is “laundered” — cleaned up — in order to appear as though it came from legitimate sources. To transfer millions of dollars to the US without the government and IRS noticing requires sophisticated financial manoeuvring.
In 2012, Manafort wired $US6.4 million from offshore accounts to purchase two New York properties — a condominium on Howard Street and a brownstone on Union Street — and a house in Arlington, Virginia.
“Manafort used his hidden overseas wealth to enjoy a lavish lifestyle in the United States, without paying taxes on that income,” the indictment read. “Manafort then borrowed millions of dollars in loans using these properties as collateral, thereby obtaining cash in the United States without reporting and paying taxes on that income.”
The tax bill on $US21 million in ordinary income earned legitimately in the US would have been over $US8 million.
From 2008 to 2014, Manafort also allegedly used offshore accounts to wire over $US12 million to fund a luxurious lifestyle, paying for items ranging from Range Rovers to men’s clothing to housekeeping services.
Here are some examples of the “personal items” Manafort bought through offshore accounts, according to the indictment:
- $US5,434,793: Home improvement company in the Hamptons, New York
- $US1,319,281: Home automation, lighting, and home entertainment company in Florida
- $US934,350: Antique rug store in Alexandria, Virginia
- $US849,215: Men’s clothing store in New York
- $US655,500: Landscaper in the Hamptons, New York
- $US520,440: Clothing store in Beverly Hills, California
- $US273,455: Car payments related to four Range Rovers and a Mercedes Benz
- $US20,000: Housekeeping in New York