Newly released court filings reveal that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort received a $10 million loan from Kremlin-connected Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, Reuters reports.
The link between Manafort and the influential Russian businessman disclosed on June 27 is closer than any previously uncovered by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller in his investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Reuters said the court filing -- an affidavit attached to a 2017 search-warrant application -- was unsealed on June 27 and it showed that tax returns for a company Manafort and his wife controlled included evidence of the loan from Deripaska.
The Russian metals magnate has ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and was the target of U.S. sanctions this year.
FBI agents conducted a raid of Manafort's home in July 2017 after their search warrant was approved by a judge. The raid reportedly provided Mueller with key evidence in his investigation into Manafort's financial relationship with Deripaska.
Reuters said the newly revealed court documents show that Deripaska was an early supporter of Manafort's consulting work for the former pro-Russian president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, who was ousted by street protests in 2014.
Manafort has been a principal target in Mueller's yearlong investigation of Russian ties to the Trump campaign.
Mueller has also indicted Konstantin Kilimnik, a political operative who sometimes served as an intermediary between Manafort and Deripaska. In court filings Mueller's prosecutors have said Kilimnik has ties to Russian spy agencies, which Kilimnik denies.
Reuters said the court documents confirmed that Mueller has been investigating Manafort’s role in a June 9, 2016, meeting that he attended at the Trump Tower in New York between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer and self-professed Kremlin informant who purportedly was carrying damaging information on Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee for president.
The FBI in its search warrant also sought information about any connection Aras and Emin Agalarov had with the meeting, Reuters said.
Aras Agalarov is another Russian oligarch close to Putin who joined the elder Trump in staging the 2013 Miss Universe contest in Moscow. His son, Emin, is a popular singer.