Ex-Trump Campaign Chief Accused of Hiding Payment

Ukraine lawmaker says he has found secret invoice
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2017 2:43 AM CDT
Former Trump Aide Accused of Hiding $750K Payment
Paul Manafort talks to reporters on the floor of the Republican National Convention last year.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign manager who stepped down last summer amid controversy over his ties to a pro-Russia party in Ukraine, is facing a fresh allegation of hiding secret payments. Ukraine lawmaker Serhiy Leshchenko has published a contract and invoice supposedly from Manafort, a former adviser to pro-Russia former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, detailing a $750,000 payment to Manafort's consulting company in 2009, the BBC reports. The invoice is for 501 pieces of computer equipment, though Leshchenko says it matches a payment to Manafort listed in a secret ledger uncovered by anti-corruption investigators in Ukraine. Manafort resigned days after reports on the ledger surfaced.

"So, it looks like Manafort wasn't a political consultant. He was a trader of computer processors," Leshchenko quips to CNN. "But I'm sure it's a fake contract and a fake invoice just to establish—artificially establish—a legal basis for a transaction." He alleges that the payment, which went through offshore accounts in Belize and Kyrgyzstan, was really for consulting work for Yanukovych's Party of Regions. Manafort has denied receiving cash payments from the leader, and a spokesman says the latest claims are "baseless." At a House hearing Monday, FBI chief James Comey declined to say whether the US is coordinating with Ukraine to investigate the alleged payments, the Washington Post reports. (More Paul Manafort stories.)

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