Huge Payments to Manafort Reflect Murky Ukraine Politics

2017/7/16 17:02:20

Of particular interest to investigators in both the United States and Ukraine is the fact that Paul Manafort has officially reported to the United States government receipts of more money – almost $17 million - from the Regions of Ukraine party than the party reported as its total operating expenses for the same period. “It means either Manafort is lying, or the Party of Regions was lying,” Serhiy Leshchenko, an investigative journalist and a member of Parliament…said in an interview. 

 

Photo: Paul Manafort at the 2016 Republican convention that chose Donald Trump as its candidate

 


By ANDREW E. KRAMER for the New York Times, July 15, 2017

 

KYIV, Ukraine — Paul J. Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, recently filed financial reports with the Justice Department showing that his lobbying firm earned nearly $17 million for two years of work for a Ukrainian political party with links to the Kremlin.

 

Curiously, that was more than the party itself reported spending in the same period for its entire operation — the national political organization’s expenses, salaries, printing outlays and other incidentals.

 

The discrepancies show a lot about how Mr. Manafort’s clients — former President Viktor F. Yanukovych of Ukraine and his Party of Regions — operated.

 

And in a broader sense, they underscore the dangers that lurk for foreigners who, tempted by potentially rich payoffs, cast their lot with politicians in countries that at best have different laws about money in politics, and at worst are, like Ukraine in those years, irredeemably corrupt.

 

Mr. Yanukovych was driven from office in the Maidan Revolution of 2014, after having stolen, according to the current Ukrainian government, at least $1 billion. In the years before his fall, Mr. Manafort took lavish payments to burnish the image of Mr. Yanukovych and the Party of Regions in Washington, even as the party acknowledged only very modest spending.

 

In 2012, for example, the party reported annual expenses of about $11.1 million, based on the exchange rate at the time, excluding overhead. For the same year, Mr. Manafort reported income of $12.1 million from the party, the Justice Department filing shows.

 

In 2013, the Party of Regions reported expenses of $3.7 million, while Mr. Manafort reported receiving payments of $4.5 million.

 

Handwritten ledgers that surfaced last year indicated that the party had actually spent about $2 billion over the past decade or so, much or most of it illegally. Some outlays like payments to an election official possibly amounted to criminal bribery.

 

[…]

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/15/wor ... rt-viktor-yanukovych.html

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