Special counsel Robert Mueller’s case against former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, indicted for alleged offenses ranging from money laundering to acting as unregistered agents of Ukraine’s former pro-Russian government, seems to be getting stronger by the day.
A new court filing disclosed by the office of special counsel revealed how Manafort and longtime Republican operative Rick Gates’ travel histories, fluctuating net worth and banking habits have made them “serious flight risks.”
“The defendants pose a risk of flight based on the serious nature of the charges, their history of deceptive and misleading conduct, the potentially significant sentences the defendants face, the strong evidence of guilt, their significant financial resources, and their foreign connections,” the recently unsealed bail memo read. “Both have had substantial overseas ties, including assets held abroad, significant foreign work connections, and significant travel abroad. Those aspects of the defendants' history and characteristics evidence a risk of flight.”
Here are some of the significant findings from the court document:
1. Manafort keeps three U.S. passports at a time — each with a different identification number.
In the last couple of years, he has submitted 10 passport applications.
2. During his recent trips to Mexico, China and Ecuador, Manafort used a phone and email account registered under a fake name.
“The government has also learned that in March of this year, Manafort registered a phone and an email account using an alias,” the documented read. “Manafort traveled with this telephone to Mexico in June 2017; to China on May 23, 2017; and to Ecuador on May 9, 2017.”
The prosecutors did not identify the alias in the documents.
3. The 68-year-old, who traveled to Dubai, Cancun, Panama City, Havana, Shanghai, Madrid, Tokyo and Grand Cayman Island last year, frequently visited Cyprus as well — just like Gates.
Both men have several foreign accounts there.
“Extensive travel of this nature further evidences a risk of flight,” the filing said.
4. Manafort’s net worth fluctuated significantly once he began working for Trump.
According to his loan application and other financial records, his assets were worth $19 million in April 2012. Four years later, in May 2016, the number grew to $136 million.
Three months later, in August, his assets dropped to $28 million. During the same time, in a different application, he mentioned his assets were worth $63 million.
As for Gates, the documents claimed he opened 55 accounts with 13 financial institutions in past years. Some of these accounts held more than $10 million between 2010 and 2013.
Moreover, in February 2016, he listed his and his wife's net worth as $30 million. However, in March 2016, the number had dropped to $2.6 million.
If convicted, Manafort might face a prison-term of about 12 to 15 years. Meanwhile, Gates could face 10 to 12 years — not counting “related frauds.”
Thumbnail/Banner: Reuters, Bill Hennessey