Paul Manafort's exit strategy: Trump's campaign chairman set up shell company to get loans from Trump-tied businesses

After leaving the Trump campaign, Manafort set himself up with foreign investors — and will now lobby for them

By Matthew Rozsa
April 13, 2017 3:50PM (UTC)
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(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

In the aftermath of reports that Paul Manafort, the former campaign manager to President Donald Trump, received payments that can be traced back to an infamous Ukrainian "black ledger," it also emerged on Wednesday that Manafort will register with the Department of Justice as a foreign agent.

Manafort created a shell company that eventually received $13 million in loans from Trump-connected businesses, according to a report by The New York Times. Manafort's maneuvers came on the same day he resigned as Trump's campaign manager due to reports about his connections to the Russian-connected former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. One of those loans was for $3.5 million and came from a business, Spruce Capital, that has connections to Ukraine through billionaire Alexander Rovt. These were part of $20 million in total loans given to properties owned by Manafort and his wife, the purpose of which is not entirely clear.


While aspects of Manafort's finances are currently under investigation, there is no indication that these loans are part of those inquiries. That said, Manafort was able to purchase real estate in a number of states (including California, Florida, New York and Virginia) with money of uncertain origin, and because Manafort failed to register as a foreign lobbyist after initially working in Ukraine, his compensation from working there has not been disclosed. Some Ukrainian anti-corruption officials claim that $12.7 million in "off the books" cash payments were earmarked specifically for him in Yanukovych's so-called "black ledger."

In a statement released on Wednesday, Manafort's representative said he "has always denied that he ever received any cash payments for his work and has consistently maintained that he received all of his payments, for services rendered, through wire transfers conducted through the international banking system."

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Donald Trump Paul Manafort Russia Ukraine