Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Man(afort) in the Middle?

I don't know what it means, but I don't think it's good.
Financial records filed last year in the secretive tax haven of Cyprus, where Paul J. Manafort kept bank accounts during his years working in Ukraine and investing with a Russian oligarch, indicate that he had been in debt to pro-Russia interests by as much as $17 million before he joined Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign in March 2016.


The Cyprus documents obtained by The New York Times include audited financial statements for the companies, which were part of a complex web of more than a dozen entities that transferred millions of dollars among them in the form of loans, payments and fees.


The notion of indebtedness on the part of Mr. Manafort also aligns with assertions made in a court complaint filed in Virginia in 2015 by the Russian oligarch, Oleg V. Deripaska, who claimed Mr. Manafort and his partners owed him $19 million related to a failed investment in a Ukrainian cable television business.


After The Times shared some of the documents with representatives of Mr. Manafort, a spokesman, Jason Maloni, did not dispute that the debts might have existed at one time. But he maintained that the Cyprus records were “stale and do not purport to reflect any current financial arrangements.”

“Manafort is not indebted to Mr. Deripaska or the Party of Regions, nor was he at the time he began working for the Trump campaign,” Mr. Maloni said.

Wait a minute...
The records, which include details for numerous loans, were certified as accurate by an accounting firm as of December 2015, several months before Mr. Manafort joined the Trump campaign, and were filed with Cyprus government authorities in 2016.


(Mr. Manafort resigned as campaign manager last August amid questions about his past work in Ukraine.)
Did he pay off those huge debts in that "several months" before joining the campaign?
In addition to the $19 million he said he had invested with Mr. Manafort, Mr. Deripaska claimed he paid Mr. Manafort an additional $7.3 million in management fees. [...] Mr. Deripaska appears to have stopped pursuing his court action against Mr. Manafort and his former investment partners, Rick Gates and Rick Davis, in late 2015.
A few months before Manafort joined the Trump campaign.
“The broader point, which Mr. Manafort has maintained from the beginning, is that he did not collude with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election.”
Just in case you were wondering.
He recently filed a long-overdue report with the Justice Department disclosing his lobbying efforts in Ukraine through early 2014, when his main client, President Viktor F. Yanukovych of Ukraine, was ousted in a popular uprising and fled to Russia.
Yeah, and who was he working with in the US on that deal, because Yanukovych was "our man" in Ukraine.
Last year, his name surfaced in a handwritten ledger showing $12.7 million designated for him by the Party of Regions, and documents recovered from his former office in Kiev suggest some of that money was routed through offshore shell companies and disguised as payment for computer hardware.

Nothing to see here.
One of the Manafort-related debts listed in the Cyprus records, totaling $7.8 million, was owed to Oguster Management Limited, a company in the British Virgin Islands connected to Mr. Deripaska. [...] The loan is unsecured, bears 2 percent interest and has “no specified repayment date,” according to a financial statement for LOAV.
Yeah. Nothing to see here.  Move along.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

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