Paul Manafort and Russian oligarch had $60 million relationship: Report

Trump's former campaign manager's ties to a Russian oligarch are stronger than previously reported

By Charlie May

Published October 14, 2017 12:45PM (EDT)

 (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Financial ties between a Russian oligarch and President Donald Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, are far stronger than what has previously been reported.

Manafort is linked to entities that engaged in a a previously unreported $26 million loan with a company owned by Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, who is a billionaire and reportedly has ties to the Kremlin, according to an NBC News investigation.

Company documents show "funds were sent from a company owned by Deripaska to entities linked to Manafort, registered in Cyprus," NBC reported.

Including the loan, a total of roughly $60 million in business dealings have taken place over the past decade, according to financial documents filed in Cyprus and the Cayman Islands, NBC reported.

Manafort is a central piece in the special counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation into the Trump campaign's alleged ties with the Russian government. Manafort resigned as Trump's campaign manager in August 2016 after alleged  "improper financial dealings," though he's denied those accusations, NBC reported.

In late July, Manafort's home was raided by the FBI in order for authorities to "seize documents and other materials," Salon previously reported. Months later new reports revealed that Manafort was wiretapped by the FBI as a result of his shady connections with influential Russian figures.

Manafort's spokesman,  Jason Maloni, originally told NBC, "Mr. Manafort is not indebted to former clients today, nor was he at the time he began working for the Trump campaign."

The statement was then retracted and a revised one was given to the network.

"Recent news reports indicate Mr. Manafort was under surveillance before he joined the campaign and after he left the campaign. He has called for the U.S. Government to release any intercepts involving him and non-Americans in hopes of finally putting an end to these wild conspiracy theories. Mr. Manafort did not collude with the Russian government," the second statement said.

A U.S. diplomatic cable described Deripaska as "among the 2-3 oligarchs [Russian President Vladimir] Putin turns to on a regular basis," NBC reported. Though further details of their relationship are unclear at the time. Deripaska did not return NBC's request for comment.

NBC elaborated on the relationship between Manafort and Deripaska:

NBC News reported in June that the business relationship between Deripaska and Manafort began in 2007. According to The Wall Street Journal, they worked together to further Russian interests in Georgia.

Manafort then went on to spend nearly a decade working as a consultant for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.

The NBC News investigation shows that $26 million was transferred from Oguster Management Ltd. — which is wholly owned by Deripaska, according to a disclosure filed at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange — to Yiakora Ventures Ltd. Yiakora, according to Cyprus financial documents, is a "related party" to Manafort's many interests on the island, a financial term meaning that Manafort's interests have significant influence over Yiakora.

Charlie May

MORE FROM Charlie MayFOLLOW @charliejmay