Prosecutors file court documents seeking time to investigate whether Paul Manafort is continuing to commit crimes.
Editor’s Note: Samuel Warde is the editor-in-chief of Liberals Unite (recently re-branded as The Art of Living) as well as a contributor to Mindy Fischer, Writer. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own. You can view a list of his articles here.
CNN reported over the weekend that federal prosecutors suspect that Trump’s former campaign chair, Paul Manafort, “might be trying to secretly claw back about a million dollars he agreed to hand over to the government for his financial crimes — and he could be using the same type of shell company at the core of his legal problems to fake a loan.”
Manafort was ordered to pay both fines and restitution to banks and other lending organizations as part of his recent sentencing orders. The current concern for prosecutors is a $1 million claim filed in court by a company that prosecutors suspect might be Manafort himself.
Bloomberg elaborated, reporting that:
Prosecutors working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller raised the prospect that a $1 million loan to Paul Manafort in 2017 from an “opaque” Nevada company might have been a “sham transaction” in which no repayment was ever expected.
The company, Woodlawn LLC, could be an “alter ego” for Manafort himself, prosecutors wrote in court papers filed late Friday in Washington. Because the company’s ultimate funding source remains unclear, they wrote, they are seeking information that would rule out that Manafort himself could be behind the bid to secretly recoup money he agreed to turn over to the government.
Bloomberg added that: “[P]rosecutors objected to Woodlawn’s request for an immediate ruling that it has a valid lien, saying the company hasn’t disclosed who provided the money behind the loan, any proof that money was ever disbursed or other information.”
Reporting on last week’s actions by prosecutors in the U.S. District of Washington D.C., Bloomberg reported that:
In their filing Friday, prosecutors cited Manafort’s history to suggest that the Woodlawn loan could be a fake, noting that he owned or controlled at least 30 domestic and foreign entities that were used as part of criminal schemes.
In addition, Manafort and his former associate, Rick Gates, “conspired to classify overseas payments from some of these Manafort-controlled companies as ‘loans’ in order to avoid taxes,” prosecutors wrote. “Manafort also made false representations in order to obtain millions of dollars in other loans, they said. (Gates has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the government.)
Woodlawn, which extended the $1 million loan, was registered on Aug. 2, 2017. It is “a non-transparent company incorporated in Nevada with no apparent place of business and no discernible beneficial owner,” prosecutors said.
The matter is pending before U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington D.C. who “will decide whether the government can seek additional documents from Woodlawn and question as many as nine people potentially tied to it,” according to Bloomberg.
It true, this is a stunning example of the audacity of Trump’s inner circle and begs the question – is Manafort still committing crimes because he is confident in a presidential pardon, or is he just that arrogant? Dim-witted? Confused? Corrupt? Inquiring minds want to know.