On a leafy side street off Independence Square in Kyiv is an office used for years by Donald J. Trump`s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, when he consulted for Ukraine`s ruling political party. His furniture and personal items were still there as recently as May, according to The New York Times.
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And Mr. Manafort`s presence remains elsewhere here in the capital, where government investigators examining secret records have found his name, as well as companies he sought business with, as they try to untangle a corrupt network they say was used to loot Ukrainian assets and influence elections during the administration of Mr. Manafort`s main client, former President Viktor F. Yanukovych, NYT reports.
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Handwritten ledgers show $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Mr. Manafort from Mr. Yanukovych`s pro-Russian political party from 2007 to 2012, according to Ukraine`s newly formed National Anti-Corruption Bureau. Investigators assert that the disbursements were part of an illegal off-the-books system whose recipients also included election officials.
The National Anti-Corruption Bureau, which obtained the ledger, said in a statement that Mr. Manafort`s name appeared 22 times in the documents over five years, with payments totaling $12.7 million. The purpose of the payments is not clear. Nor is the outcome, since the handwritten entries cannot be cross-referenced against banking records, and the signatures for receipt have not yet been verified.
”Paul Manafort is among those names on the list of so-called `black accounts of the Party of Regions,` which the detectives of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine are investigating,” the statement said. ”We emphasize that the presence of P. Manafort`s name in the list does not mean that he actually got the money, because the signatures that appear in the column of recipients could belong to other people.”
In addition, criminal prosecutors are investigating a group of offshore shell companies that helped members of Mr. Yanukovych`s inner circle finance their lavish lifestyles, including a palatial presidential residence with a private zoo, golf course and tennis court. Among the hundreds of murky transactions these companies engaged in was an $18 million deal to sell Ukrainian cable television assets to a partnership put together by Mr. Manafort and a Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of President Vladimir V. Putin.
Mr. Manafort did not respond to interview requests or written questions from The New York Times. But his lawyer, Richard A. Hibey, said Mr. Manafort had not received ”any such cash payments” described by the anti-corruption officials.