Story with charges against Manafort in U.S. may affect Ukrainian politicians - Leschenko
The charges against U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, may affect Ukrainian politicians if the FBI continues to investigate the sources of money they received, Bloc of Petro Poroshenko faction deputy Serhiy Leschenko has said.
"I think that this will be reflected if the FBI continues to investigate where he [Manafort] got this money, and he received them, first of all, from offshore accounts connected with the entourage of [former Ukrainian President Viktor] Yanukovych," he told Interfax-Ukraine on Monday, October 30.
"If all Ukrainian partners of Manafort are subject to FBI investigation, this will have serious consequences for his contacts in Ukraine. This network of contacts also included [Ukrainian businessman Rinat] Akhmetov, [businessman and politician Borys] Kolesnikov, [businessman Dmytro] Firtash, [former Head of the Ukrainian Presidential Administration Serhiy] Liovochkin, and other politicians and oligarchs of the first echelon," Leschenko said.
He noted that Ukraine, through the Department of Special Investigations of the Prosecutor General's Office, was investigating one episode of the case concerning the payment for Manafort's consultations by officials of the previous government, in particular, the possible involvement of U.S. company Skadden "as an adviser" by the Ukrainian Justice Ministry through former Justice Minister Oleksandr Lavrynovych.
According to Leschenko, Manafort decided to surrender to the FBI, according to U.S. media reports, because he understands the weight of the evidence collected by investigators.
"By means of agreements, he can try to agree on leniency and not such a severe punishment," the MP added.
As reported, on June 27, 2017, Head of the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAPO) Nazar Kholodnytsky said there were no Manafort signatures in the Party of Regions unofficial payment ledger. SAPO and NABU were unable to provide any evidence that Manafort received remuneration from the Party of Regions.
In addition, according to an article appearing in the Washington Post on June 28, Manafort reportedly confirmed receiving $17 million from the Party of Regions. Evidence of the payments, according to the article, is contained in documents which Manafort filed with the U.S. Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) chief Artem Sytnyk said in August 2017 that NABU possesses no information about interference in the U.S. presidential election, emphasizing that the agency had not investigated the matter.
In March, Leschenko said he possessed original documents showing bank transfers by Yanukovych to Manafort via an offshore company with an account in Kyrgyzstan. Leschenko at the time asked the U.S. and Ukrainian authorities to investigate the matter.
Earlier on Monday, October 30, Manafort and business associate Rick Gates were charged with possible interference the 2016 U.S. election. The charges do not directly affect alleged links between Trump's ex-allies and Russia, but Gates and Manafort are accused of money laundering and collusion against U.S. interests in cooperation with former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his Party of Regions.
Manafort and Gates became the first defendants in the investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Early on October 30, they voluntarily arrived at the FBI.
According to Bloomberg, negotiations are underway to release Manafort and Gates on bail.
Investigators believe that Manafort, with the complicity of Gates, laundered more than $18 million from his offshore accounts.