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Ex-Trump Campaign Chair Charged With Conspiracy Against US and Offshore Account Violations!

According to Law360, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and an alleged co-conspirator have been indicted on charges of conspiracy against the United States, money laundering and bank records charges tied to close to a decade of secret lobbying on behalf of Russia-associated Ukrainian officials.

The indictment comes as the first charges to emerge from the probe by special counsel Robert Mueller, the former FBI director who took over the investigation of Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election in May following the firing of FBI director James Comey.
The 12-count grand jury indictment alleges that Manafort and business associate Richard W. Gates III received as much as $75 million for secretly advocating on behalf of the party of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, which they hid through international money transfers.

According to the indictment, Manafort and Gates acted as lobbyists for the Party of Regions from 2006 onward, receiving payments that they routed through shell companies in Cyprus, the Grenadines and the United Kingdom to assets in the United States. Manafort and Gates acted essentially as undeclared lobbyists on behalf of the Party of Regions, according to the indictment.

“Manafort, without reporting the income to his tax preparer or the United States, spent millions of dollars on luxury goods and services for himself and his extended family through payments wired from offshore nominee accounts to United States vendors,” the indictment says.

Manafort set up companies called Davis Manafort Partners and DMP International LLC in 2005,  which were held by Manafort and his wife and which Gates worked for, according to the indictment. The Party of Regions, a pro-Russia party in Ukraine, hired DMP in 2006 to advocate on its behalf, according to the indictment.

That continued when Yanukovych was elected president in 2010 and after he fled the country in 2014 and the Party of Regions rebranded as the opposition, according to the indictment. The party allegedly paid Manafort and Gates through that period, and eventually through the European Center for a Modern Ukraine, a party-funded mouthpiece that was founded in 2012.

The indictment alleges that Manafort and Gates contracted two D.C. area lobbying firms during a multimillion dollar lobbying campaign, telling them they would be representing the government of the Ukraine. The two men allegedly directed lobbying to members of Congress and the administration on behalf of Ukraine without declaring as foreign agents.

According to the indictment, Manafort and Gates used more than a dozen international entities to funnel money into the United States. Manafort allegedly used foreign money to purchase U.S. property, which he then borrowed against to obtain cash.

The indictment’s 12 charges include conspiracy against the United States for having “intentionally conspired to defraud the United States” Treasury Department and DOJ, money laundering, failure to file foreign bank records, acting as an unregistered foreign agent, false statements under the Foreign Agents Registration Act and false statements to investigative officials.

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Read more at: Tax Times blog

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