Financial records obtained by The Associated Press have confirmed that Paul Manafort’s consulting firm received at least $1.2 million in payments from a pro-Russian political party.
According to Business Insider, the information was found in a handwritten ledger in Ukraine last August, which included dollar amounts and dates next to Manafort’s name. When the ledger was discovered, Manafort was Donald Trump’s campaign chairman.
Until recently, Manafort insisted that the ledger was fabricated and that there was no evidence that anyone actually received the payments recorded in it. But the AP identified two payments received by Manafort that aligned with the ledger: one for $750,000 that a Ukrainian lawmaker said last month was part of a money-laundering effort that needs to be investigated. The other payment for $455,249 also matched a ledger entry.
The payments were received in 2007 and 2009 before Manafort led Trump’s presidential campaign. Manafort led the campaign from March 2016 until August in 2016, when Trump asked him to step down.
This new discovery boosts the credibility of the ledger at a time when U.S. federal prosecutors have been investigating Manafort’s work in Eastern Europe as part of a larger anti-corruption probe. He is also under scrutiny as part of congressional and FBI investigations into possible contacts between Trump associates and the Russian government during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Federal prosecutors have been investigating Manafort’s work for years as part of an effort to recover Ukrainian assets stolen after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted and fled to Russia in 2014.
In a statement to the AP, Manafort did not deny the money recorded in the ledger was received but said “any wire transactions received by my company are legitimate payments for political consulting work that was provided. I invoiced my clients, and they paid via wire transfer, which I received through a U.S. bank.”