Ukrainian investigators who helped collect evidence used to indict President Trump’s former campaign chairman also want to look at Manafort’s possible role in a 2014 massacre.
MOSCOW—Many of Kiev’s journalists, investigators, and officials felt genuinely happy on Monday when they heard Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, had been indicted on charges of laundering more than $18 million from Ukraine.
Most of the 12 counts of the indictment pulled together by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team spoke about Manafort’s illegal financial deals when he was working for Ukraine’s pro-Kremlin Party of Regions from 2006 onward. It also accused him of “conspiracy against the United States,” since Manafort allegedly used multiple shell companies to hide his money, and never bothered to inform U.S. authorities about the true size of his income.
“It is very important for Ukraine to never see such a phenomenon as Manafort on its soil ever again,” journalist and commentator Ekaterina Sergatskova told The Daily Beast. “He symbolizes the ‘old regime’ of money laundering, corrupt lobbying, dirty scams—the regime that made millions suffer—both in Ukraine and in United States. Manafort served a regime that worked under Russia’s total control—that regime should never come to power in Ukraine again.”
In the past year, Ukrainians have constantly heard sinister news about Manafort. But the investigation conducted in the U.S. raised even more questions for people who want to know how he was advising Yanukovych as political opponents were rounded up and violent attacks mounted against the opposition.
“Well done,” the head of Ukraine’s special prosecutions office, Serhiy Gorbatyuk, told The Daily Beast as he looked through the indictment. “We find item number 22 especially important: It confirms our own investigation was on the right track.”
Paragraph 22 of the indictment says that Manafort and his associate Richard W. Gates III directed the lobbyists they’d retained in Washington to lobby in connection with the roll out of a report commissioned by the government of Ukraine about the trial of Yulia Tymoshenko, a former prime minister of Ukraine who spent three years in prison. The international democratic community, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and then-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, supported Tymoshenko in jail, while Manafort and Gates advised Yanukovych about his repressive politics.