What Exactly Is Paul Manafort Being Charged With?

by Joseph D. Lyons
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Early on Monday morning, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was told to turn himself in to federal authorities for charges stemming from the Russia investigation. Rick Gates, a former business associate of Manafort's also faces charges. The charges against Manafort and Gates include 12 counts including "conspiracy against the United States." That's according to the indictment which was unsealed Monday after the two surrendered themselves. (Bustle has contacted the FBI for comment.)

Earlier reports from The Wall Street Journal pointed Manafort's main charge being tax fraud, along with others. But the total list of 12, which include tax and foreign lobbying allegations, is far more damaging. The indictment reads that Manafort is accused of laundering more than $18 million to buy properties and services. Gates, meanwhile, is accused of wiring $3 million from illegal offshore accounts. A total of more than $75 million "flowed through the offshore accounts," according to the indictment. Manafort expected to appear in federal court later in the day Monday, the Journal reported.

The total list of 12 charges includes conspiracy against the United States (specifically the Justice Department and Treasury); conspiracy to launder money, failure to report foreign accounts (seven charges); not registering as a foreign agent; false and misleading statements on federal banking forms; and false statements to the Department of Justice in both November 2016 and February 2017.

The charges for Manafort and Gates seem to have something to do with their business ties and payments from Eastern Europe political activity supporting the former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, his government, and his party. That come not only from the connections between the two reported by The New York Times, but the indictment itself.

"Manafort and Gates generated tens of millions of dollars in income as a result of their Ukraine work," the indictment reads, and goes on to say that they laundered money through foreign companies and accounts, including one in Cyprus, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and the Seychelles.

As part of the scheme, Manafort and Gates repeatedly provided false information to financial bookkeepers, tax accountants and legal counsel, among others.

The two have worked together for a long time, the Times first reported in June. "Nearly everywhere Paul Manafort went, it seemed, Rick Gates followed, his protégé and junior partner," the paper reported, noting their collaboration had been constant everywhere from elections in Eastern Europe and Africa, deals with Russian business tycoons, and, most recently, in the leadership of the Trump presidential campaign.

Gates was named on a list of five Trump campaign associates for which the transition team was ordered to save records in June. He hasn't been in the media much since, save for today's indictment.

Now his name will be tied to Manafort through the judicial process. The Times reported that Manafort had expected these charges since the summer, though it's unclear if Gates also was. There was a time that people speculated that Manafort might negotiate a settlement with prosecutors in exchange for information on the president, but Monday's indictment would seem as confirmation that that won't happen.

As for the money that the two are accused of having hidden from the United States, and the back taxes that would be owed from said funds, it appears that confiscation is in order. Upon conviction, the indictment states, Manafort and Gates "shall forfeit to the United States any property, real or personal, which constitutes or is derived from proceeds traceable to the offense(s) of conviction." The government will also seek a sum of judgment for money too, if the convictions of property don't cover it. Several addresses are listed for conviction in New York and Virginia.