WASHINGTON - The 31-page, 12-count indictment against Paul Manafort and Richard Gates focuses on their years as political consultants and lobbyists working with Ukraine.
It alleges that they received tens of millions of dollars for their Ukraine work, and to hide that income, they laundered the money through "scores of United States and foreign corporations, partnerships, and bank accounts."
It includes details about their lavish lifestyle, that they used money from offshore accounts to pay for mortgages, children's tuition and home decorating. The indictment says more than $75 million flowed through the offshore accounts, specifically that Manafort laundered more than $18 million and Gates transferred more than $3 million from the offshore accounts.
Focus on Ukraine work
Signed by Robert Mueller, who was named special prosecutor on May 17, the indictment focuses on an entity first created by Manafort in 2005 for political consulting, called Davis Manafort Partners. In 2011, Manafort created DMP International and began consulting, lobbying and public relations for Ukraine.
Gates worked for both firms and according to the indictment "served as Manafort's right-hand man." A focus was advancement of the pro-Russia political party in the Ukraine, the Party of Regions, and candidacy of Viktor Yanukovych for president. He was elected in 2010 (and fled to Russia four years later).
Because Manafort and Gates were directing a campaign to lobby the US on behalf of the government of Ukraine and officials there, the indictment says, they were required to report the work and income. They didn't and when asked by the Justice Department about it, they lied about it.
An 'appetizer' to future charges?
"These are incredibly serious charges, and suggest a longstanding and pervasive pattern of reckless illegality on the part of someone who was instrumental in the Trump campaign, and who should've known better," said Steve Vladeck, CNN legal contributor and professor at the University of Texas Law School.
"Taken together, it seems to me that this is a very important interim development in the Mueller investigation, but only as an appetizer," Vladeck said. "And like most meals, if all we get is an appetizer, I think folks on all sides of the political spectrum will find the denouement rather unsatisfying. It's a tantalizing step, but only if it's the first---and not the last."
Where'd the money go?
Under the alleged scheme from 2008 to 2014, Manafort wired $12 million from offshore accounts in Cyprus, Grenadines, and the United Kingdom to buy luxury cars, clothing and art and to fund renovations and home improvements relating to his Hamptons, New York, property.
Among the payments:
- $5.4 million to vendors for home repairs for his properties in the Hamptons
- $1.3 million to a Florida home automation, lighting and entertainment company
- $934,350 to an antique rug store in Alexandria, Virginia
- $849,215 to a New York mens clothing store
- $655,500 to a Hamptons landscaper
- $623,910 to a New York antique dealer
- $520,000 to a Beverly Hills clothing store
- $500,000 to an investment company
- $432,487 to a Florida contractor
- $164,740 to a different Hamptons landscaper
- $163,705 in payments for three Range Rovers
- $125,650 for a Virginia contractor
- $112,825 for home entertainment vendor in the Hamptons
- $62,750 for a Mercedes
- $47,000 for a Range Rover
- $46,000 for a property management company in South Carolina
- $31,900 to a Florida art gallery
- $20,000 on housekeeping in New York