Mueller files new charges against Manafort, Gates

By Danielle Haynes Follow @DanielleHaynes1 Contact the Author   |  Feb. 22, 2018 at 5:25 PM
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Feb. 22 (UPI) -- The team of special counsel Robert Mueller filed new charges Thursday against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, former members of the Trump campaign, for alleged financial crimes.

The new 32-count indictment accuses the men of lying to banks about their business income in order to get more than $20 million in loans. The charges come as part of Mueller's investigation into alleged meddling by the Russian government in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

In October, Manfort, President Donald Trump's former campaign manager, and Gates, a former campaign aide, pleaded not guilty to a slew of other charges filed by the Mueller team. A federal judge placed them both on house arrest.

Manafort resigned as Trump's campaign chairman in August 2016 after The New York Times reported a Ukrainian government corruption probe found Manafort received nearly $13 million off the books from a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party. In June 2017, when Manafort registered as a foreign agent after the fact, he reported making more than $17 million from the Party of Regions.

The new indictment says Manafort and Gates passed the money they received from Ukraine through foreign bank accounts to conceal it from the Internal Revenue Service. The charges include preparing false tax returns, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and failure to disclose income from foreign sources.

Within the first month of Trump's presidency, U.S. intelligence agencies said they were investigating intercepted phone calls between Manafort and Russian intelligence agents. Manafort said he didn't realize they were intelligence agents.

Meanwhile, Gates is accused of transferring more than $3 million from offshore accounts.

Though Manafort was ousted from the Trump campaign in 2016, Gates stayed on and had a role in the president's inaugural committee. He also was part of a lobbying group to help push Trump's agenda, but he was forced out in April amid questions over his role in the Russia probe.

On Jan. 3, 2018, Manafort sued the Department of Justice, saying Mueller didn't have the authority to investigate his lobbying dealings in Ukraine. The Department of Justice asked for the suit to be dropped, saying Manafort misinterpreted Mueller's appointment as allowing him to investigate crimes "uncovered for the very first time during his investigation."

They said he can prosecute crimes the Justice Department knew about.

The new indictment came on the same day a federal judge rejected Manafort's attempt to be freed from house arrest by offering more of his property as collateral.

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