Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort provides a wide range of services to his clients. For Vladimir Putin, Manafort put together a $10 million-a-year plan to influence American politics and slant news coverage. For Viktor Yanukovych’s pro-Russian Party of Regions, Manafort landed both the presidency of Ukraine and arranged protests that provided an excuse for the invasion of Crimea. He also lobbied for his clients in the United States while failing to register as a foreign agent. For Manafort, at home in Trump Tower, it’s built up a nice pile of what his daughter called blood money.
Apparently among the services that Manafort offered his clients was laundering money looted from Ukraine through accounts in notoriously shady Cypriot banks. And it’s this last “service” that’s getting some fresh scrutiny.
Banking sources said some transactions on Manafort-associated accounts raised sufficient concern to trigger an internal investigation at a Cypriot bank into potential money laundering activities. After questions were raised, Manafort closed the accounts, the banking sources said.
What kind of actions are enough to trigger a raised eyebrow at a bank in Cyprus? One involved a massive check from Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a top Putin lieutenant, to Manafort’s own firm, PEM. It was Deripaska who actually came to Manafort for the plan to help Putin affect Western politics.
He paid PEM $18.9 million to buy a television and media network in Ukraine, according to the Cayman Island court documents. But the deal fell through and the money was never accounted for, the documents say.
In other words, it certainly appears that Manafort pocketed $18.9 million for … other purposes.