Paul Manafort received payments from 'pro-Russian' party while Trump campaign chairman


On Wednesday, the Associated Press, or AP, reported confirmation that Paul Manafort's business received two payments listed in the 'Black Ledger,' a handwritten list of off-the-book disbursements made by a Russia-supporting political party in Ukraine.

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

Though Manafort denied the validity of the ledger, bank records obtained by the AP reportedly show designated payments totaling no less than $1.2 million align with deposits into an account belonging to his firm.

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According to AP, they were made in 2007 and 2009 in the amounts of $455,249 and $750,000, respectively.

That is, some time prior to Manafort becoming the manager of the Trump Campaign, and the AP considers the records unrelated to that endeavor.

However, it notes that they do, "for the first time bolster the credibility of the ledger. They also put the ledger in a new light, as federal prosecutors in the U.S. have been investigating Manafort's work in Eastern Europe as part of a larger anti-corruption probe."

Over the past months, Manafort has been accused of being involved in a money-laundering scheme, and the payments confirmed by the AP align with some of the specifics of the claimed wrongdoing.

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Manafort has denied the allegations and once told the AP, "any wire transactions received by my company are legitimate payments for political consulting work that was provided. I invoiced my clients and they paid via wire transfer, which I received through a U.S. bank."

Manafort further noted that he accepted money through his, "'clients' preferred financial institutions and instructions."

In the past weeks, amid questions about Manafort's alleged ties to Russia, the White House has asserted that President Trump had no knowledge of dealings between Russia and members of his campaign team.

Furthermore, White House press secretary Sean Spicer downplayed Manafort's involvement with the Trump campaign in a press briefing on March 20, describing him as someone "who played a very limited role for a very limited amount of time."