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Manafort sued by Justice Department for $3 million

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Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman who was convicted of financial crimes and later pardoned by his former boss, was sued on Thursday by the Justice Department, which is claiming $3 million from unnamed foreign bank accounts. declared.

The trial is the latest twist in Manafort’s legal woes. Investigated and indicted in 2017, Manafort was found guilty by a Virginia jury a year later and pleaded guilty to separate charges in federal court in Washington, D.C. He was sentenced to more than seven years in prison, but released in early 2020 due to health concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump pardoned him on December 23, 2020, shortly before leaving office.

Manafort briefly ran Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016, before being ousted amid questions about his work consulting for Ukrainian politicians, which has earned him millions. After Trump was elected president, the Justice Department continued to investigate Manafort, indicting him as part of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into the Trump campaign.

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The lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court in West Palm Beach, Fla., seeks a court order requiring Manafort to pay millions of dollars in fines and interest “for his willful failure to timely disclose his financial interests in foreign bank accounts” – in particular, for failing to declare his foreign accounts in 2013 and 2014.

At the time, Manafort was a seasoned American political consultant.

While Trump eventually pardoned Manafort for financial crimes from that period, the lawsuit argues he still owes the Treasury Department for violating laws requiring U.S. citizens to report any foreign bank account they control.

Treasury officials told Manafort in July 2020 that he owed significant financial penalties for failing to report those accounts. But Manafort has not paid, according to the suit, which is seeking $2,976,350.15, plus government costs to pursue the case.

Manafort’s attorney, Jeff Neiman, said in a statement that his client had been trying for months to resolve the filing issue, which he dismissed as “simply failing to file a tax form.”

“Mr. Manafort knew the government was going to sue because it tried for months to resolve this civil case,” Neiman said. “Nevertheless, the government insisted on sueing just to embarrass Mr. Manafort.

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After being found guilty by a jury of using foreign accounts to hide the proceeds of his Ukrainian consulting, Manafort pleaded guilty to money laundering and obstruction.

He had been a successful GOP consultant for decades, working on the presidential campaigns of Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush – the epitome of a party insider. When his standing in Republican circles faded, he made millions advising political candidates in other countries, particularly Ukraine.

In 2019, amid fears Trump would pardon his former adviser, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office secured a grand jury indictment. against Manafort on fraud charges that echoed the federal case. A New York state judge dismissed the case, saying it violated state laws against double jeopardy.