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Mueller Opposes Manafort Request to Change Bail, Citing Fraud

The U.S. special counsel rejected Paul Manafort’s proposed new bail package, in part because of alleged additional criminal conduct that the U.S. has learned since the initial terms were set.

Manafort and longtime associate Rick Gates were indicted in October by Mueller for failing to register as agents in the U.S. for political consulting they did for Ukraine and pro-Russian politicians there. 

They were among the first to be charged by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in his probe of Russian influence on last year’s presidential election. They were also accused of conspiring to launder millions of dollars and hiding offshore bank accounts. Manafort laundered money from overseas to buy houses, cars, clothes, antiques and landscaping services, the U.S. said. Both men have pleaded not guilty.

The possible new criminal conduct by Manafort “includes a series of bank frauds and bank fraud conspiracies,” Mueller said in a court filing late Friday in a response to a request from Manafort to reconsider his bail conditions. Specifically, the claims relate to a mortgage on Manafort’s Fairfax, Virginia, property, which Manafort sought to pledge as part of his bail.

‘False Representations’

“The Fairfax property is claimed by Manafort to have no mortgage. In fact, it was posted to secure a mortgage of over $9 million from the Federal Savings Bank, which was secured by both the Fairfax property and the Bridgehampton property,” the government said in the filing. “It is misleading to claim the Fairfax property has no mortgage when, in fact, it has been posted to secure a mortgage that substantially exceeds the value of the property.”

Manafort had initially posted his Fairfax and Bridgehampton, New York, properties as collateral.

The government has secured “substantial” evidence that Manafort secured the mortgage from the Federal Savings Bank through a series of false and fraudulent representations to the Federal Savings Bank, Mueller said in the filing.

“For example, Manafort provided the bank with doctored profit and loss statements for DMP International LLC for both 2015 and 2016, overstating its income by millions of dollars,” Mueller said. DMP is Manafort’s firm.

A lawyer for Manafort didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment sent outside regular business hours.

On Jan. 3, Manafort filed a civil lawsuit claiming that Mueller overstepped his authority in charging him with crimes related to business conducted long before he became President Donald Trump’s campaign chairman and that involve events unrelated to Russian election meddling. The U.S. filed a motion to dismiss that lawsuit, and Manafort’s lawyers opposed that motion in a separate filing late Friday.

The criminal case is U.S. v. Manafort, 17-cr-201, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington). Manafort’s civil suit is Manafort v. U.S. Department of Justice, 18-cv-11, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

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