Yesterday, the New York Times reported that “handwritten ledgers” have been uncovered, documenting $12.7 million in payments being “designated” for Donald Trump presidential campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Ukraine-based pro-Russian group Party of Regions, headed by Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, is thought to be the source of the funds, as reported by Vanity Fair.
The discovery is said to have been made by a newly-formed Ukrainian watchdog, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau.
The Times described an “illegal off-the-books system” used to track payments to a group of individuals reported to include Ukraine elections officials. The disbursements are said to have been made from 2007 to 2012.
“I have never received a single ‘off-the-books cash payment’ as falsely ‘reported’ by The New York Times, nor have I ever done work for the governments of Ukraine or Russia,” Manafort was quoted by Vanity Fair. “Every government official interviewed states I have done nothing wrong, and there is no evidence of ‘cash payments’ made to me by any official in Ukraine.”
The Times reported that Paul Manafort “consulted for Ukraine’s ruling political party,” seemingly in contradiction to the Trump adviser’s statement that he has never worked for the Ukraine government. Vanity Fair noted that Manafort does not appear to have asked the Times to correct or retract the article.
Newly independent political columnist George Will recently commented on what he sees as a connection between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia, as reported by the Inquisitr.
“Perhaps one more reason that we’re not seeing his [Trump’s] tax returns is because he is deeply involved with Russian oligarchs and others,” Will stated to Fox News’ Bret Baier.
The Times article paints a picture of Paul Manafort working in Kiev on behalf of Ukraine’s former government up until May. The newspaper describes a “corrupt” syndicate whose aim was to influence Ukrainian elections and “loot” the country’s wealth.
Prosecutors are also reported to be investigating a potential criminal case involving Oleg Deripaska, thought to be connected to organized crime, and Paul Manafort: Ukraine cable television businesses were said to be sold to partnerships thought to be formed by the two. An $18 million transaction involving offshore corporations was described as “murky” and of being just one among hundreds.
Officials with the Ukrainian Anti-Corruption Bureau stated that while the ledgers they have uncovered appear to indicate that funds were earmarked for Paul Manafort, whether or not he actually received the money has yet to be determined.
Former Kiev prosecutor’s office official Vitaliy Kasko stated that Manafort was not a subject of the probe into the offshore transactions, but that the Trump aide must have been aware that Viktor Yanukovych “was engaged in corruption.”
“It’s impossible to imagine a person would look at this and think, ‘Everything is all right.'” Vitaliy Kasko was quoted as saying.
Paul Manafort’s duties for the Party of Regions were reported to include re-branding its image from one of an organization of “mobsters” to being perceived as a legitimate Ukrainian political group.
Current Clinton/Trump/Stein/Johnson general election poll averages show Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump by 6.3 points, though this margin has narrowed to 3, 5, 4, and 5 percent in the four most recent, as reported by Real Clear Politics.
Vanity Fair described the Paul Manafort-Ukraine revelations as a “major setback” and of the Trump campaign “faltering” in its attempt to get back on course after a number of perceived public gaffes since the Republican National Convention in mid-July, such as failing to release his tax returns, describing President Obama and Hillary Clinton as the “founders” of ISIS, and suggesting that Second Amendment enthusiasts may have some special way of “stopping” Hillary Clinton, as reported by the Inquisitr.
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