Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former Trump campaign official Rick Gates surrendered on October 30 to Justice Department.
The charges against top officials from Trump’s campaign are connected to Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between the Russian government and members of Trump’s team as well as potential obstruction of justice and financial crimes.
Gates, 45, is a longtime business associate of Manafort, 68. The pair worked together since the mid-2000s, and Gates served as Manafort’s deputy on the campaign. The two were indicted under seal on October 27, according to CNN.
— POLITICO (@politico) 30 October 2017
Manafort has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him, having been indicted over allegations that he conspired to defraud the US, laundered money, and a number of other charges. Gates also pleaded not guilty. Both of them were indicted by a federal grand jury on 12 counts including violating federal lobbying and banking laws, the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s said. Mueller’s team is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, as well as any possible links between Russian officials and the Trump campaign.
The indictment alleges that they moved money through hidden bank accounts in Cyprus, St Vincent and the Grenadines and the Seychelles. In total, more than $75m flowed through the offshore accounts. Manafort is accused of laundering more than $18m, according to the indictment. He was fired as Mr Trump’s campaign chairman in August after word surfaced that he had allegedly orchestrated a covert lobbying operation on behalf of pro-Russian interests in Ukraine – something Mr Manafort has denied.
Manafort is accused of being connected to Ukraine, and not Russia. The indictment calls Manafort and Gates “unregistered agents of the Government of Ukraine”, and working in the interests of former President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych. According to the indictment, Manafor and Gates were lying about the purpose of their work in Ukraine, and denied lobbying. They claimed they had only tried to help the Ukrainian representatives get in contact with Washington, and denied any involvement with the offshore accounts.
Russia and the Trump campaign are not mentioned at all in the indictment.
On October 30, a former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser has pleaded guilty to making a false statement to the FBI after he lied about his interactions with foreign officials close to the Russian government.
The FBI said the 30-year-old George Papadopoulos “falsely described his interactions with a certain foreign contact who discussed ‘dirt’ related to emails” concerning Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Records also describe an email between Trump campaign officials suggesting they were considering acting on Russian invitations to go to Russia.