Justice Department Sues Former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort Over Money in Offshore Bank Accounts

Manafort was a central figure in former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation

Paul Manafort arrives for a hearing at US District Court on June 15, 2018 in Washington, DC. - A judge revoked Manafort's bail and sent him to jail over claims he was tampering with witnesses in the case against him brought by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Paul Manafort . Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty

The U.S. Justice Department has filed suit against ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, arguing that he failed to disclose more than 20 offshore bank accounts, and seeking to recover some $3 million from those undeclared accounts.

At least some of that money — the Justice Department argued in a lawsuit filed in federal court in West Palm Beach — was related to 73-year-old Manafort's consulting work in Ukraine, which became a key focus of the Mueller investigation during Trump's time in office.

The Justice Department alleges in its suit that Manafort failed to disclose the money on his income tax returns.

"From 2006 through sometime in 2014, [Manafort's consulting company] earned consulting income from Ukrainian sources. This income was deposited into accounts Manafort directed to be opened in the countries of Cyprus, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the United Kingdom," the suit alleges.

The suit seeks nearly $3 million in fines and penalties from Manafort.

This is the latest in a long string of legal troubles for Manafort, who was a central player in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Manafort, a longtime Republican consultant and lobbyist, has also consulted for a number of non-U.S. clients — including oligarchs leading a pro-Russian party in Ukraine (which is now under invasion by Russia).

Shortly before Trump took office, in August 2016, the New York Times reported on a secret ledger that allegedly showed Manafort had been paid nearly $13 million from the pro-Russian party. Manafort resigned from his role as Trump's campaign chairman just days after the Times report was published, though he remained close with Trump and his allies.

His problems multiplied in later years.

In August 2018, a federal jury in Virginia convicted Manafort on eight felony counts of bank and tax fraud. At the time, he was the first campaign associate of then-President Donald Trump to be found guilty by a jury as part of Mueller's investigation.

In September 2018, Manafort pled guilty to two criminal charges — one count of conspiracy against the U.S. and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice— as part of a cooperation deal that required him to cooperate with the investigation.

He was later sentenced to 47 months in prison for the tax and bank fraud charges, but given a full pardon by then-President Trump in December 2020.

Mueller's investigation stemmed from a consensus among American intelligence officials that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election in an effort to boost Trump's chances over Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton — largely through the Russian hacking of Clinton-related emails and then, via WikiLeaks, their release.

Both Trump and the Russian government have always adamantly denied any conspiracy. As part of his investigation, Mueller also looked at whether the president obstructed justice, according to the Washington Post.

The president gave written answers to questions from Mueller's team but did not sit for an interview.

Several Trump campaign and administration officials were eventually ensnared in Mueller's investigation, though Trump pardoned many during his time in office.

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