Kyiv is buzzing about the Manafort indictment

2017/11/12 0:24:59

Ukrainian prosecutors hope to unravel the former Trump aide’s activities on behalf of a corrupt former leader. But their own government just wants it all to go away.


Photo: Former campaign manager for U.S. President Donald Trump, Paul Manafort (R), leaves the U.S. District Court after pleading not guilty following his indictment on federal charges on October 30, 2017


By DAVID STERN for Politico, Nov 9, 2017


KYIV – Last week, as the news of Paul Manafort’s indictment on 12 counts of money laundering, tax evasion and lobbying violations rocketed through Washington D.C., a small group quietly celebrated in a nondescript Soviet-era building near the Dnipro River in the Ukrainian capital.


“It showed we’re on the right track,” Serhiy Gorbatyuk, head of a special investigations unit in the Ukrainian general prosecutor’s office, told POLITICO. Gorbatyuk and his team are tasked with digging into alleged illegal, under-the-table payments by Ukraine’s pro-Russian former president, Viktor Yanukovych, who was deposed in a pro-Western revolution three years ago. Manafort, whose work as political advisor to Yanukovych for nearly a decade provided the bulk of material for the U.S. indictment, figures in two of their Ukrainian investigations.


The first, referred to locally as the “black ledgers” case, concerns some $2 billion of allegedly off-the-books disbursements by Yanukovych’s Party of Regions. Last year the New York Times revealed that Manafort’s name appeared 22 times among the hundreds of pages of handwritten entries, for alleged payments totaling $12.7 million. (Though Manafort denied receiving the money, the revelations contributed to his resignation as Trump’s campaign manager in August 2016.)


The second investigation is looking into a 2012 report prepared for the Ukrainian government by the New York City law firm Skadden, Arps, Meagher & Flom. Manafort helped arrange the report, which was seen to exonerate Yanukovych for jailing his main political opponent, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. The report, which Ukraine’s justice ministry claimed at the time was “independent,” looked into allegations that Tymoshenko’s trial and conviction in 2011 was full of legal violations and politically motivated. Skadden found that though there were discrepancies in her prosecution, the verdict against Tymoshenko was fair.


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20151118caihuali Posted: 2017/11/21 9:23