Paul Manafort pleads not guilty to tax evasion, bank fraud

Glen Norman
March 9, 2018

Manafort and Gates worked for Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Russian former Ukrainian president who was attempting to burnish his image in the US and Europe.

The charges were brought as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman entered a plea of not guilty as he faces charges he acted as an unregistered foreign agent and directed an worldwide money-laundering conspiracy. With a file from the Associated Press.

The mystery man sported a full white beard, black beanie hat and sunglasses as he extended his hands upward while Manafort arrived at the Albert V. Bryan Courthouse in Virginia.

In one instance, Manafort allegedly dealt with an unpaid $300,000 American Express bill by telling a bank that Gates had borrowed his credit card and run up the charges, the indictment says.

A trial date of July 10 has been set, four months earlier than the defence had wanted.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of bank and tax fraud in special prosecutor Robert Mueller's sprawling Russian Federation meddling probe.

Manafort's former business partner, Rick Gates, pleaded guilty in the Washington federal court to conspiracy and lying to the FBI.

Manafort is charged in Washington with making false statements about his foreign lobbying work, which he primarily did for Ukrainian politicians, and engaging in a money laundering conspiracy. It is expected to last eight to 10 days.

If Manafort were to choose to avoid a trial and change his plea to guilty, he could be forced to share details he knows about Trump campaign officials' contact with Russians and other foreign nationals. In court papers, prosecutors said they asked Manafort if he'd be willing to waive venue and have the case consolidated in the District, but he refused.

Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni did put out a statement shortly after the indictment was announced.

Manafort, who has been indicted on 32 counts by Mueller primarily related to bank fraud and his work for a Ukranian political party, wrote to an intermediary just before Trump accepted the Republican nomination that he'd be willing to give Deripaska "private briefings" if he required them. He faces up to 15 years on the charges of filing false tax returns and up to 20 years on the charges of failing to report foreign bank accounts.

Ellis, a senior judge, was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1987.

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