Trump aide Paul Manafort hid payment from pro-Russian party, Ukrainian lawmaker says

On Monday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer was quick to downplay Paul Manafort's involvement with the Trump campaign, notes Politico.

The effort came soon after FBI Director James Comey confirmed that the bureau is investigating Trump associates' possible ties with Moscow.

Manafort served as the chairman of the Trump Campaign. He joined the effort in March and was moved to the top position in mid-May. He vacated the post in August amid talk of his involvement with a pro-Russia Ukrainian political group, notes the New York Times.

The plot pertaining to Manafort and his dealings with the group has gotten a bit thicker.

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Ukrainian lawmaker Serhiy Leshchenko asserted on Monday that Manafort attempted to hide a payment from the party of ousted leader Viktor Yanukovych, who is now reportedly hiding in Russia.

The document presented by Leshchenko is a $750,000 invoice for computers sent to a company based in Belize in mid-October of 2009, notes the Washington Post. That amount and date reportedly line up with a $750,000 payment to Manafort listed in the "black ledger" of Yanukovych's party.

The Times notes that the invoice in question was, according to Leshchenko, found in the safe of an office in Kiev once occupied by Manafort. It is also said that the document is printed on letterhead from Davis Manafort of Alexandria, Virginia and carries Manafort's signature.

The former Trump campaign chairman has denied the allegations.

A spokesperson for Manafort said in a statement that Leshchenko's assertions of attempts to hide a payment are, "baseless, as reflected by the numerous statements from [National Anticorruption Bureau of Ukraine] officials who have questioned the validity of the so-called ledger evidence against Mr. Manafort."

That statement further noted, "Any new allegations by Serhiy Leshchenko should be seen in that light and summarily dismissed."

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