The first indictment came down from Special Counsel Robert Mueller this morning and it has taken the head of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and one of his associates. The alleged crimes concern some relation to the Russia meddling probe that has been ongoing since earlier this year. Specific details are still unavailable as to what Manafort is being accused of, but we should know more at some point today.
The latest from Business Insider:
President Donald Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Manafort’s former business associate Rick Gates were been indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller and told to surrender to federal authorities on Monday, multiple media outlets have reported.
Manafort has been at the center of Mueller’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow during the 2016 election. Legal experts speculated over the weekend, after news of the sealed indictments broke on Friday, that Mueller would arrest Manafort in an effort to get him to “flip” against Trump.
Manafort’s international business dealings were a subject of critics when he was promoted to head the Trump campaign in June of 2016. His ties to several questionable players, such as former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, eventually became his undoing as the campaign demoted him and eventually released him over these financial matters.
Back in August of this year, Robert Mueller subpoenaed Manafort’s bank records which signaled he was in fact a major target of Mueller’s efforts.
It is not known whether the Mueller indictment is related to Manfort’s prior business dealings or dealings that occurred in relation to the Trump campaign, or the presidential election in general.
Stay tuned as this story develops.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that tax fraud is among the list of charges:
The former chairman of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has been told to surrender to authorities on charges including tax fraud, according to people familiar with the matter.
The list of charges includes tax fraud, but that may not be the only item on the list. Usually surrounding tax fraud will be a list of other financial offenses. The indictment is expected to be unsealed later today.
Here is video of Manafort surrendering to authorities a short time ago:
The UK DailyMail is reporting deeper on the twelve charges included in the indictment:
According to the Justice Department, the indictment against Manafort and Gates includes 12 separate criminal counts: conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) statements, false statements, and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.
The government alleges that at least $75 million was moved by Manafort to offshore accounts without declaring the income to the government. Form there Manafort allegedly withdrew $18 million to fund a lavish lifestyle, and Gates pulled another $3 million out.
The indictment is purely focused on alleged financial crimes and does not include any charges related to the broader question that formed the basis of Mueller’s investigation – whether Donald Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russia to swing the 2016 election in his favor.
More as the story continues to develop…
Here is a link to the entire indictment from the Justice Department: Manafort Indictment (PDF)
Richard Gates, an associate of Manafort’s also named in the indictment, also worked on the Trump campaign in 2016, though at a lower level than Manafort.
So far, all the activities concerned in the indictment happened before Manafort was leading the Trump campaign in June of 2016. The bulk if it is funneling money around from the Ukraine into and out of offshore bank accounts.
President Trump has responded to the Manafort indictment on twitter: