Summarizing Manafort’s Indictment

Paul Manafort (Manafort), former chair of the Trump campaign, and Richard Gates (Gates), his longtime assistant have been indicted on 12 counts.

Count one
Conspiracy against the United States
Count two
Conspiracy to launder Money
Counts three through nine
Failure to report foreign bank and financial accounts
Count Ten
Unregistered agent of a foreign principal
Count Eleven
False and misleading FARA statements
Count twelve
False statements

Let’s begin with the alleged history of events.

  1. In 2005, Manafort and a partner created Davis, Manafort Partners, Inc. (DMP) principally to engage in political consulting. The firm had staff in the United States, Ukraine, and Russia.
  2. In 2011, Manafort created DMP International, LLC (DMI) to do political work for foreign clients. In particular, DMI represented the government of Ukraine, the Party of Regions, and members of the Party of Regions.
  3. DMI was owned by Manafort and his wife. Gates worked for both DMP and DMI as Manafort’s right-hand man.
  4. The Party of Regions was a pro-Russia party in Ukraine.
  5. Beginning in approximately 2006, the Party of Regions hired Manafort through DMP and then DMI to advance its interest in Ukraine, including the election of its slate of candidates.
  6. In 2010, Victor Yanukovych (Yanukovych), its candidate for president was elected.
  7. In 2014, Yanukovych fled Ukraine for Russia in the wake of protests over widespread governmental corruption.
  8. In 2012, the European Center for a Modern Ukraine (the Center) was created as a mouthpiece for Yanukovych and the Party of Regions.
  9. The center was used by Manafort, Gates, and others to lobby and conduct a public relations campaign in the United States and Europe on behalf of the existing government of Ukraine.
  10. The Center ceased operations after Yanukovych’s downfall in 2014.

Now, let’s examine the alleged crimes.

  1. Between 2008 and 2017, Manafort and Gates executed a scheme designed to defraud, and to obtain money and property by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises from the United States, banks, and other financial institutions.
  2. As part of the scheme, Manafort and Gates repeatedly gave false information to tax accountants, financial bookkeepers, lawyers, and others.
  3. To use the money in the offshore entities created by Manafort and gates without paying taxes on it, they used wire transfers from the accounts to pay for goods, services, and real estate. The wire transfers were never reported as income to DMP, DMI, or Manafort.
  4. Between 2008 and 2014, Manafort’s wire transfers totaled more than 12 million dollars.
  5. When a person engages in lobbying or public relations work in the United States on behalf of a foreign government that person must provide the Department of Justice with a detailed registration statement. The filing, made under oath, must disclose the name of the foreign principal, the payments to the lobbyist, and the work done for the foreign government.
  6. From 2006 through 2014, Manafort and Gates engaged in a multi-million dollar lobbying campaign in the United States at the direction of Yanukovych, the Party of Regions, and the government of Ukraine.
  7. Manafort and Gates never registered with the Department of Justice or provided the required disclosures.
  8. In February of 2012, Manafort and Gates solicited two Washington DC firms (the firms) to lobby in the United States on behalf of Yanukovych, the Party of Regions, and the government of Ukraine.
  9. At the direction of Manafort and Gates, the firms lobbied multiple members of Congress and their staffs about Ukraine sanctions, the validity of Ukraine elections, and the propriety of Yanukovych imprisoning his primary political opponent.
  10. To minimize public disclosure of their lobbying activities, Manafort and Gates arranged for the Center to be the nominal client of the firms.
  11. The firms were paid more than two million dollars by entities run by Manafort and Gates.
  12. To conceal the scheme, Manafort and Gates developed a false and misleading cover story that distanced themselves, Yanukovych, the Party of Regions, and the government of Ukraine from the Center and the firms.
  13. In September of 2016, the Department of Justice informed Manafort, Gates, and DMI that it wanted to determine whether they had acted as foreign agents without registering.
  14. In November 2016 and February 2017, Manafort, Gates, and DMI caused false and misleading letters to be submitted to the Department of Justice, which mirrored the false cover story they used to hide their lobbying activities.
  15. DMI said it doesn’t retain communications beyond 30 days.
  16. Searches of Manafort’s and Gates’s email accounts and Manafort’s Virginia residence revealed numerous documents, including documents related to lobbying which were more than 30 days old at the time of the November 2016 letter to the government.
  17. United States citizens with authority over foreign bank accounts that contain at least 10 thousand dollars at any time during a year are required to report those accounts to the Department of Treasury.
  18. United States citizens are required to tell the IRS about any foreign bank or financial accounts they have in any foreign country.
  19. Between 2008 and 2014, Manafort had authority over foreign accounts that weren’t reported to Treasury or the IRS.
  20. Between 2008 and 2014, Manafort lied in his tax filings, telling the IRS he had no authority over any foreign accounts.
  21. Between 2008 and 2013, Gates had authority over foreign accounts that weren’t reported to Treasury.
  22. After Manafort used offshore funds to purchase real estate, he took out mortgages on the properties. That allowed him to have the benefits of income that wasn’t taxed.
  23. Manafort defrauded the banks that loaned him money to obtain cheaper interest rates.
  24. Based on a request by Manafort, Gates created a document he knew was false listing a rental property as the second home of Manafort’s son and daughter-in-law.
  25. The falsified document was used to obtain a better loan.

The indictment lists loads of transactions made by Manafort and Gates. It also has more details about the specific charges. My hope is that this summary gives you an idea of what Manafort and Gates were doing without overwhelming you with legalities and too many details.

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