Bankers, bank fraud central to Manafort trial, charges


News

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Paul Manafort’s first of two trials is in full-swing in Alexandria, Virginia, and between the two trials he’s facing financial-fraud charges and allegations of money laundering.

Manafort, a longtime political operative, lobbyist, and one-time campaign manager for the U.S. president, faces a 32-count indictment that asserts that he lied to banks, relied on offshore accounts, and evaded taxes on tens of millions of dollars.

Manafort’s primary source of income for nearly a decade was lobbying work for Ukrainian politicians and oligarchs, and especially Viktor Yanukovych. But that source of funds dried up when Yanukovych fled to Russia aftera national uprising in Ukraine against graft, government corruption, and divisions about whether to embrace the EU or Russia. The uprising in Ukraine pitted EU-favoring protestors against Russia-backed government officials for whom Manafort worked.

Prosecutors are arguing that Manafort hid the proceeds from this work, and that he turned to bank fraud and lying to get loans when this income disappeared. The Washington Post is providing blow-by-blow arguments in the trial, some of which includes testimony by bank employees about the nitty-gritty of mortgage applications, customer due diligence, and risk management. For instance, Manafort was attempting to get a new mortgage on a property he wished to purchase but is alleged to have attempted to hide an existing mortgage on a different property.

Prosecutors allege that Manafort succeeded in getting more than $20 million in loans by providing false information. Two of Manafort’s employees have already testified that they helped in the process by providing false documentation.

According to the Post, several bankers will be called to the stand, and one of them is alleged by prosecutors to have overlooked Manifort’s fraudulent loan documentation in order to gain consideration for a position in President Trump’s administration.

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