It’s a new week, which means a new scandal for Donald Trump’s campaign.
Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign chairman, previously consulted for the Ukraine’s Party of Regions, a pro-Russian political party that no longer exists. A current government investigation into a corrupt network, which was reportedly used for extortion and to influence elections during former president Viktor F. Yanukovych’s administration, has uncovered Manafort’s name, along with to the names of companies he worked with. Both appeared in a ledger documenting $12.7 million from Yanukovych’s political party meant for Manafort between 2007 and 2012, The New York Times reports. Other election officials were also named in the ledgers, which investigators say are all a part of an “illegal, off-the-books system.”
Investigators are also looking into several offshore shell companies that reportedly helped finance life in luxury for a number of Yanukovych’s inner circle, and conducted shady business deals that moved millions of dollars around.
Despite uncovering his name in the ledger, it is currently unclear if Manafort ever received his cash payouts. His lawyer claims he did not. According to NBC, Manafort himself made a statement on Monday calling the report “unfounded, silly and nonsensical,” and claiming that he had never taken off-the-books cash payments, nor had he ever worked for the Ukrainian government. His signature is also absent from the ledger, while others cited in it did sign it, according to CNN.
In 2014, months of violent protests eventually caused President Yanukovych to flee to Russia, where he was granted protection. According to NBC, Transparency International called the ex-leader “one of the most symbolic cases of grand corruption.”
Whether Manafort ever received the money or not, the fact remains that a politically corrupt party had intended it for him.