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1ST LEAD Former Trump campaign manager Manafort faces fresh charges By Friederike Heine, dpa

Europe
22.02.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Washington (dpa) - The special prosecutor leading the probe into Russian meddling in US elections has filed new financial crimes charges against President Donald Trump‘s former campaign manager and his longtime business associate, according to court documents.

Robert Mueller on Thursday charged Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, who joined Trump‘s campaign when Manafort briefly became its manager in 2016, with filing false tax returns, failing to report foreign financial accounts and bank fraud.

Manafort is accused of laundering more than 30 million dollars in income that he hid from US authorities with the assistance of Gates, according to the 32-count indictment filed in a Virginia court.

Gates and Manafort had already been indicted in October by Mueller on charges including making false statements, money laundering and failing to register as foreign agents, in connection to lobbying work for Ukraine‘s former pro-Russian government.

Neither the October indictments, nor the new financial crime charges, include allegations of collusion with Russia as part of Trump‘s campaign, which forms the main thrust of the Justice Department investigation.

Thursday‘s indictment is widely perceived as an effort by Mueller to ratchet up the pressure on Manafort and Gates to cooperate with the collusion investigation as they prepare for trial later this year.

It comes a week after 13 Russians were indicted for conspiring to undermine the US presidential election. The charges against them include conspiracy to defraud the US, conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Trump has repeatedly referred to the investigation into his campaign‘s dealings with Russia in the run-up to the election as a "hoax" and an attempt to undermine his administration.

 

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