NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!
The US Department of Justice sued Paul Manafort, who served as former President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign chairman, for just under $3 million for failing to report his financial interests in foreign accounts in timely.
A jury convicted Manafort of tax evasion and bank fraud in August 2018, but President Trump pardoned him in 2020, shortly before leaving office.
“The United States of America is bringing this action to recover outstanding civil penalties imposed on Defendant Paul J. Manafort for his willful failure to timely disclose his financial interests in foreign bank accounts,” the Department of Justice in a filing with the U.S. District Court. in West Palm Beach, Florida, Reuters reported.
The DOJ says it is asking for $2,976,350.15.
Manafort’s attorney, Jeffrey Neiman, called the lawsuit an attempt to embarrass his client. He said the government was seeking a sanction against Manafort “for simply failing to complete a tax form”.
DURHAM SAYS CIA FOUND DATA ALLEGING TRUMP-RUSSIA CONNECTION IS NOT ‘TECHNICALLY PLAUSIBLE’, WAS ‘USER CREATED’
“Mr. Manafort knew the government was going to sue because he tried for months to resolve this civil case,” Neiman said. “Nevertheless, the government insisted on filing this complaint simply to embarrass Mr. Manafort.”
In the 2018 criminal fraud case that resulted in a conviction, prosecutors accused Manafort of hiding from US tax authorities the $16 million he earned as a political consultant working for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine to finance an opulent lifestyle. They also accused him of lying to banks to get $20 million in loans after his Ukrainian income dried up. He only registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) in 2017, years after his work in Ukraine.
A Republican-led U.S. Senate committee concluded in 2020 that Manafort’s involvement in the Trump campaign posed a counterintelligence threat, leaving the United States vulnerable to Russia.
“Overall, Manafort’s high-level access and willingness to share information with people closely tied to Russian intelligence, particularly [Konstantin] Kilimnik and associates of [Oleg] Deripaska, posed a serious counterintelligence threat,” the committee wrote in a 966-page report.
HOW PAUL MANAFORT IS CONNECTED TO TRUMP, RUSSIA INVESTIGATION
The case against Manafort came amid Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia – an investigation currently at the heart of Special Counsel John Durham’s own investigation. Trump has repeatedly claimed the Mueller investigation was a ‘witch hunt’ and critics have faulted the Trump-Russia investigation for relying on the salacious and unverified dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, paid by the Clinton campaign.
“It was a militarization of the law enforcement and national security operations,” Manafort told Fox News in January. “He was targeted. In my wildest dreams, I could not have imagined this type of targeting, for undermine his presidency and try to impeach him. And there was no way I was going to participate in that.”
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Manafort claimed law enforcement tricked him into lying while serving a prison sentence from June 2018 to May 2020.