The Justice Department unveiled charges against three former Donald Trump aides on Monday in the first major public action by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Trump's former campaign chairman and a top aide were charged with “conspiracy against the United States,” “conspiracy to launder money” and other charges on Monday morning. Paul Manafort and Rick Gates were expected in court in Washington by the afternoon.
The Justice Department also announced that a former campaign foreign policy aide, George Papadopoulos, had pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI. Papadopoulos, according to court documents, had extensive contacts with people he knew were connected to the Russian government, including one who told him Russia had “dirt” on then-candidate Hillary Clinton.
Manafort and Gates turned themselves in to the FBI on Monday morning. Papadopoulos' status was unclear.
Offshore accounts in St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Cyprus and the Seychelles were used by former Donald Trump U. S. Presidential campaign manager Paul Manafort and an accomplice to conceal more than $18 million in earnings as lobbyists for the Ukraine government from the IRS, claim federal prosecutors.
Details are contained in a criminal indictment against Manafort and Richard Gates III for alleged conspiracy to defraud the USA, conspiracy to commit money laundering, failure to file reports of for that was returned at federal court in Washington, D.C. last Friday.
“Manafort and Gates generated tens of millions of dollars in income as a result of their Ukraine work,” it was stated in the indictment. “In order to hide Ukraine payments from United States authorities, from approximately 2006 through at least 2016, Manafort and Gates laundered the money through scores of United States and foreign corporations, partnerships, and bank accounts.
“In furtherance of the scheme, Manafort and Gates funneled millions of dollars in payments into foreign nominee companies and bank accounts, opened by them and their accomplices in nominee names and in various foreign countries, including Cyprus, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, and the Seychelles. Manafort and Gates hid the existence of the foreign companies and bank accounts, falsely and repeatedly reporting to their tax preparers and to the United States that they had no foreign bank accounts.
“In furtherance of the scheme, Manafort and Gates concealed from the United States their work as agents of, and millions of dollars in payments from, Ukraine and its political parties and leaders. Because Manafort and Gates, among other things, directed a campaign to lobby United States officials on behalf of the Government of Ukraine, the President of Ukraine, and Ukrainian political parties, they were required by law to report to the United States their work and fees. Manafort and Gates did not do so. Instead, when the Department of Justice sent inquiries to Manafort and Gates in 2016 about their activities, Manafort and Gates responded with a series of false and misleading statements.
“In furtherance of the scheme, Manafort used his hidden overseas wealth to enjoy a lavish lifestyle in the United States, without paying taxes on that income. Manafort, without reporting the income to his tax preparer or the United States, spent millions of dollars on luxury goods and services for himself and his extended family through payments wired from offshore nominee accounts to United States vendors. Manafort also used these offshore accounts to purchase multi-million dollar properties in the United States. Manafort then borrowed millions of dollars in loans using these properties as collateral, thereby obtaining cash in the United States without reporting and paying taxes on the income. In order to increase the amount of money he could access in the United States, Manafort defrauded the institutions that loaned money on these properties so that they would lend him more money at more favorable rates than he would otherwise be able to obtain.
“Gates aided Manafort in obtaining money from these offshore accounts, which he was instrumental in opening. Like Manafort, Gates used money from these offshore accounts to pay for his personal expenses, including his mortgage, children's tuition, and interior decorating of his Virginia residence.
“In total, more than $75,000,000 flowed through the offshore accounts. Manafort laundered more than $18,000,000, which was used by him to buy property, goods, and services in the United States, income that he concealed from the United States Treasury, the Department of Justice, and others. Gates transferred more than $3,000,000 from the offshore accounts to other accounts that he controlled.”
Manafort served as U. S. Presidential campaign manager for Donald Trump from June to August, 2016. He was previously an adviser to the U.S. presidential campaigns of Republicans Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bob Dole, according to media reports.