Special counsel announces new charges against Manafort, Gates

Special counsel Robert Mueller announced Thursday new charges against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates.

The new 32-count indictment returned by a grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia comes after Mueller separately charged the pair in Washington last year with money laundering and failing to register as foreign agents for their work related to Ukraine.

The new indictment accuses Manafort and Gates of dramatically understating their income on federal tax returns filed from 2010 through 2014. The pair is also accused of bank fraud totaling more than $20 million tied to three loans Manafort applied for in connection with various homes he owns.

In all, Manafort and Gates laundered more than $30 million in income, chiefly from their Ukraine work, the new indictment alleges.

The new charges stem from work Manafort and Gates performed for Ukraine, specifically for Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych and the political parties affiliated with him.

Between 2006 - 2015, the indictment charges that the two did not pay taxes on the Ukraine income, "by disguising it as alleged 'loans'" from offshore corporate entities and using foreign accounts to buy U.S. real estate, and improve and refinance their properties.

Further, between 2015 and 2017, as the Ukrainian income dried up after Yanukovych fled to Russia, Manafort, with Gates' help, extracted money from his own real estate by using the properties as collateral to get loans of over $20 million. They did so, according to the indictment by "falsely inflating Manafort's and his company's income and by failing to disclose existing debt to qualify for the loans." The special counsel's office says in the documents that Manafort "spent millions of dollars on luxury goods and services for himself and his extended family through payments wired from the offshore nominee accounts" to vendors in the U.S.

The indictment says that "more than $75,000,000 flowed through the offshore accounts," and it accuses Manafort of laundering over $30,000,000 and Gates of taking $3,000,000 from the offshore accounts, income that he also hid from the Treasury Department and DOJ.

None of the charges currently facing the pair appears to relate directly to the core of Mueller's investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. But the special counsel has jurisdiction to pursue certain crimes he finds in the course of his probe and appears to have approval from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to pursue some matters the FBI was investigating before Mueller was named last May.

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