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Ukrainian Oligarchs Intended Recipients of Manafort's Poll Data
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10 Jan 2019 06:36 PM EST

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Paul Manafort (Image source: Screenshot)

 

Paul Manafort's attorneys made a major faux pas when they didn't redact a court filing this week. This let a huge cat out of the bag.

 

Through this we learned that their client was sharing the Trump campaign's polling data with a Russian operative. It turns out he wasn't the target of the information, however; it was meant for two Ukrainian oligarchs.  

Russian Konstantin Kilimnik had worked for Manafort for more than a decade. Serhiy Lyovochkin and Rinat Akhmetov had paid Manafort to do political work for them in the Ukraine.

 

At Manafort's tax and bank fraud trial last August, prosecutors said that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had been looking into the connection between the two Ukrainians and Manafort, Donald Trump's short-term campaign chairman, for some time. 

It was the Justice Department who asked Mueller to investigate what the ties were between Manafort and the Ukrainians because of how it may connect back to the collusion of Russia and the Trump campaign

 

But these were connections that pre-dated Manafort's time as campaign chairman. At his trial it was learned that Akhmetov and Lyovochkin paid Manafort millions through wire transfers into offshore bank accounts. 

Manafort's spokesman confirmed that his client expected to receive $2.4 million from Akhmetov and Lyovochkin and other Ukrainians. However, this was meant to reimburse him from older debts from before he was part of Trump's campaign. It was not a payment for the polling data.

 

Regardless, this shows that Manafort was benefitting financially from a foreign country while he was running Trump's campaign. 

Not surprisingly, Trump said he knew nothing about Manafort sharing his polling data with a Russian in 2016.

 

"No, I didn't know anything about it," he said. "Nothing about it." 

Akhmetov is known to be one of the richest men in Ukraine. He financed the Party of Regions, the political party that aligned with Russia and that Manafort did work for. Reportedly, he introduced Manafort to Viktor Yanukovych, the political party's leader. During that time of working together Yanukovych served as the president of Ukraine for four years.

 

Manafort took home $60 million for his work in Ukraine, and his number-two man, Rick Gates, testified in court that some of that money came from Akhmetov through wire transfers that were hidden between bank accounts in Cyprus. 

Lyovochkin was a senior official in Yanukovych's administration. He secretly fed millions to Manafort for political consulting, according to the testimony from Manafort's trial. He stuck around once Yanukovych was ousted and became an opposition leader in the Ukrainian Parliament.

 

He was never mentioned by name in court filings but was implicated by federal prosecutors in a scheme to funnel foreign money into Trump's inauguration committee. 

But while that part of the scheme doesn't appear to be tied to the appearance of Russian collusion, the ties to Kilimnik do. He had ties to the same Russian military group that hacked the emails of Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta. Those emails eventually showed up on WikiLeaks.

 

Through emails from the summer of 2016, we have seen that Jerome Corsi and Roger Stone had previous knowledge of the emails before they were published. 

Right now it's up to Mueller to connect the dots. How do we get from Manafort selling polling data or Kilimnik to pass it on to the Ukrainian oligarchs, to Kilimnik being connected tot he Russian military, to the military stealing emails that Corsi and Stone were aware of, to those emails being published by Julian Assage on WikiLeaks?

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