The indictments against Paul Manafort include some big numbers—like $75 million in illicit offshore accounts, and over $18 million laundered into the US through real estate purchases. But just because Paul Manafort was being crooked on a grand scale doesn’t mean he still didn’t enjoy the little things.
For example … in 2012, Manafort formed a shell company in the US called MC Soho Holdings. He then transferred into this shell company money from a shell company in Cyprus, and used it to buy a condo on Howard Street in the Soho neighborhood of Manhattan. But Manafort didn’t move into his new $2.9 million condo. After all, he wasn’t buying these places to live in. He was buying them to use as collateral in a series of rapidly escalating loans.
Instead, Manafort rented out the condo—the condo that he’d purchased using illegal funds given to him by Russian oligarchs for the critical work of destabilizing Ukraine—on Airbnb. Because why not make a few more bucks off your illegal condo?
But that’s not the best part.
Like all his other properties, Manafort was hot to turn his new purchase into a fat loan, freeing up more cash for the next part of his scheme. So he went to the bank and discovered that the loan rates on rental property, which this was, were higher than they were on someone’s residence. Which this wasn’t. So Manafort got in touch with his daughter. He convinced his daughter and son-in-law to lie to the bank, saying that they lived in the condo, and even prompted them on what to say if someone called to check.
Paul Manafort didn’t just stop at buying a condo using illegally obtained funds. He rented it on Airbnb for extra cash, and then he enlisted his own daughter in a scheme to lie to the bank so he could shave a quarter point off his mortgage. It’s like discovering that Al Capone really did stop to steal candy from babies … only in this case, Manafort put his own baby at risk to satisfy his greed.
This was far from the only time Manafort paused in his giant criminal scheme for a little bank fraud. For example, on another occasion he got a bank loan at a special low rate for construction, but instead of using it for construction, he used it to pay off another of his round-robin loans. Hey, it saved him a few bucks, and all it hurt were … the people who should have gotten that break because they were actually doing construction.
But of course, Paul Manafort directly wired himself the funds to buy four Range Rovers, a Mercedes, and a million dollars worth of rugs. It all reflects a level of hubris that … fits right in on Team Trump.