Paul Manafort made more than $60 million consulting for a Russia-backed political party in Ukraine, according to prosecutors investigating Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman faces trial in an Alexandria, Virginia federal court Tuesday on bank and tax fraud charges brought by the office of special counsel Robert Mueller. He is seeking to keep jurors from hearing details of his years of work in Ukraine for the Party of Regions and President Viktor Yanukovych, saying it is irrelevant and prejudicial.
In a filing Monday, prosecutors responded that those details are necessary to prove how much money Manafort made and did not pay taxes on; that he knew he was paid through unreported foreign bank accounts; and that in 2014, he began committing bank fraud to make up for lost income from Ukraine.
“The government expects to prove that Manafort earned more than $60 million dollars from his Ukraine work during the period at issue and failed to report a significant percentage of it on his tax returns,” prosecutors wrote. “Accordingly, to prove that Manafort earned that much income, the government must be able to show the extent of the work that he performed for Ukraine.”
The exhibits show that Manafort did not just work on multiple Ukrainian elections but did political consulting and lobbying work for Yanukovych outside specific campaigns.
Prosecutors say the evidence is also necessary to illustrate Manafort’s relationship with the oligarchs who supported the Party of Regions and who paid him through foreign bank accounts.
Two Democratic consultants who worked with Manafort in Ukraine, Tad Devine and Daniel Rabin, are set to testify against him. Some documents are necessary to show Manafort’s connections with those consultants, prosecutors say.
Yanukovych’s ouster in 2014 is relevant, the special counsel says, “because it explains Manafort’s work for a different political party (the Opposition Bloc) and why his income later drops dramatically, which is relevant to the bank frauds that he later committed.”
Jury selection is set to begin Tuesday morning. Manafort faces related charges in Washington, D.C., federal court, where his trial will begin in September.
(c) 2018, The Washington Post · Rachel Weiner