Ukrainian Lawmaker: Paul Manafort Laundered Funds From Pro-Russian Party

Paul Manafort appears on stage ahead of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Wednesday, June 22, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
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A Ukrainian lawmaker on Monday released documents that he claimed showed that President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, laundered money paid to him by a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.

Serhiy Leshchenko, a member of Parliament, held up the documents as proof of his allegation that Manafort received illegal payments while working as a consultant for the Party of Regions, the political party of disgraced former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, according to reports in the Washington Post and New York Times.

Manafort resigned from the Trump campaign in August, shortly after the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine, a government agency, released a secret ledger maintained by the party that listed $12.7 million in secret cash payments made out to him.

The longtime GOP operative told the Times last summer that he “never received a single off-the-books cash payment.” His spokesman called the latest allegations from Leshchenko “baseless” in a statement to the newspaper.

Leshchenko held a news conference Monday where he displayed an invoice he said came from a safe in the former Kiev office of Manafort’s consulting firm, Davis Manafort & Freeman, Inc., according to the Post. The $750,000 invoice to a Belize-based company for the sale of 501 computers was dated Oct. 14, 2009, the same date that the ledger says Manafort received a $750,000 payment from the Party of Regions.

The FBI was looking into the potential ties between several Trump associates and Russian officials as part of its broader investigation into Russia’s interference in the presidential election.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer tried to distance Manafort from the Trump campaign in a press briefing on Monday, saying he played “a very limited role for a very limited amount of time.” Manafort joined the campaign in March 2016, and served as campaign chairman from April through August.

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