WASHINGTON — The Justice Department filed a lawsuit Thursday against Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort — who was found guilty in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and later pardoned. later – seeking to recover nearly $3 million from undeclared foreign bank accounts.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in West Palm Beach, asks a judge to force Manafort to pay fines, penalties and interest after prosecutors say he failed to disclose more than 20 offshore bank accounts which he ordered to open in the UK, Cyprus, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The Justice Department alleges that Manafort failed to file federal tax documents detailing the accounts and failed to disclose the money on his tax returns. The lawsuit accuses the money was linked to consulting work in Ukraine with his deputy Rick Gates and an associate, Konstantin Kilimnik, who were both key figures in Mueller’s investigation.
In court documents, the Justice Department alleges that Manafort “knowingly, intentionally, and deliberately filed and conspired to file false tax returns from 2006 through 2015 in that he stated he had no accounts. declarable foreign bank accounts when he knew he had them”. The lawsuit says the Treasury Department notified Manafort of the fines and assessment in July 2020.
Manafort’s attorney, Jeffrey Neiman, argues the lawsuit is filed “for simply failing to file a tax form.”
“Mr. Manafort knew the government was going to file a lawsuit because he tried for months to resolve this civil matter,” Neiman said in a statement. “Nevertheless, the government insisted on filing this lawsuit simply to embarrass Mr. . Manafort.”
Manafort, who led Trump’s campaign during a pivotal period in 2016 before being ousted over his ties to Ukraine, was among the first people charged in Mueller’s probe into campaign ties. Trump and Russia. He was then sentenced to more than seven years in prison for financial crimes related to his work as a political consultant in Ukraine. Trump forgave him in December 2020.
Although the charges against Manafort didn’t go to the core of Mueller’s tenure — that the Trump campaign and Russia colluded to rock the election — he was nonetheless a central figure in the investigation that followed Trump’s presidency. Trump for years.
His close relationship with Kilimnik, whom US officials linked to Russian intelligence, and with whom he shared internal Trump campaign polling data, came under particular scrutiny during the investigation. , although Mueller never accused Manafort or any other Trump associate of conspiracy with Russia.
Despite the pardon, the government believes Manafort still owes money for the alleged financial misconduct.