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Former Trump Campaign Chairman Registers As Agent For Yanukovych's Party

  • RFE/RL

Paul Manafort headed Trump's campaign for about five months until August 2016.

U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, has registered as a foreign agent for consulting work he did for the political party of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Manafort said in a Justice Department filing that his firm, DMP International, received more than $17 million from the Party of Regions, the pro-Russian former ruling party, for consulting work from 2012 through 2014.

Manafort is the second member of the Trump campaign to register as a foreign agent. In March, former national security adviser Michael Flynn registered with the Justice Department for work his consulting firm performed for a Turkish businessman.

Manafort headed Trump's campaign for about five months until August and resigned from the campaign immediately after the Associated Press reported on his firm's covert Washington lobbying operation on behalf of Ukraine's ruling political party.

He is one of several people linked to the Trump campaign who are under scrutiny by a special counsel and congressional committees investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign and potential coordination with Trump associates.

Manafort has denied any coordination with Russia and has said his work in Ukraine was not related to the campaign.

Under U.S. law, people who represent foreign political interests and seek to influence U.S. public opinion and policy are required to register with the Justice Department before they perform any work. Manafort's registration comes more than three years after he completed his work.

The Justice Department rarely prosecutes violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Instead, as in Manafort's case, they often work with lobbyists to get in compliance.

In addition to Manafort, his deputy, Rick Gates, also registered for the Ukrainian political work. Gates also served in the Trump campaign.

In the filing, Manafort said that his company's work was mostly focused on domestic Ukrainian politics as part of its work for Yanukovych's party.

Yanukovych abandoned office in late February 2014 and fled to Russia in the face of protests triggered by his decision to scrap plans for a landmark deal with the European Union and improve trade ties with Moscow instead. He is currently being tried for treason in absentia in the Ukrainian capital for his role in the deaths of protesters.

Manafort's filing repeatedly states that his firm worked "to advance the goal of greater political and economic integration between Ukraine and the West."

Manafort's firm also acknowledged that it had some involvement with a Brussels-based nonprofit called the European Centre for Modern Ukraine, saying that it provided "advice" to the entity.

With reporting by AP, dpa, and The Washington Post
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