EghtesadOnline: Authorities in Cyprus handed over bank and company records to U.S. investigators late last week related to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business partner Rick Gates, just before they were indicted in the U.S., according to people familiar with the probe.
The Cypriot government was responding to a June 7 request from U.S. investigators for records related to Manafort, Gates and companies they set up in Cyprus and the Seychelles, the people said. The pair of U.S. consultants had at least 15 accounts on the island with Bank of Cyprus and a bank it took over in 2013, Cyprus Popular Bank, one of the people said.
Only a small part of the request from the investigative team headed by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller hasn’t been answered yet, the people said. A Bank of Cyprus spokesman declined to comment, according to Bloomberg.
Manafort and Gates, his former right-hand man, are accused of hiding their work as agents of Ukraine, laundering millions of dollars and concealing foreign accounts. They pleaded not guilty, and a judge placed them under house arrest.
It’s unclear how much of the information Cyprus authorities provided was new or whether it might open additional doors in the Mueller probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The indictment provided extensive details of money flows from Cyprus to the U.S. but didn’t specify the sources of the millions of dollars channeled through the companies controlled by Manafort and Gates in Cyprus.
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has asked Cyprus to allow its agents to gather testimony from accountants, bankers, lawyers and state officials in Cyprus about the Manafort case, Nicosia-based Politis reported, without saying how it knew. The FBI is waiting for a court in Cyprus to approve its request, the agency said.
The indictment against Manafort and Gates was unsealed on Oct. 30. Manafort is accused of having laundered $18 million, including proceeds from his political consulting work for former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his pro-Russia Party of Regions. Yanukovych fled to Russia in 2014 after he was toppled.
In all, prosecutors allege that more than $75 million flowed through the offshore accounts set up by Manafort and Gates, the bulk of which were in Cyprus. The indictment detailed $12 million of payments from those accounts for Manafort’s personal real estate purchases and goods and services in the U.S.
The case is U.S. v. Manafort, 17-cr-201, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).