[HOT] – Paul Manafort, Ex-Chairman of Trump Campaign, and Associate Plead Not Guilty to Money Laundering

WASHINGTON – Former president of President Trump's campaign, Paul Manafort, was indicted on Monday and used the drug. 39, money to buy luxury cars, real estate, antiques and expensive costumes.

The charges against Mr. Manafort and his longtime partner Rick Gates represent a major escalation in a special lawyer's investigation. The first year of Mr. Trump's term

The two men appeared in federal court in Washington on Monday afternoon and pleaded not guilty to all charges

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Separately, one of the earliest advisers in foreign policy of Mr. Trump's presidential campaign, George Papadopoulos, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI About a contact with a professor linked to the Kremlin, prosecutors said Monday:

The special advocate, Robert S. Mueller III, was charged in May to check if a close Mr. Trump 's government efforts to influence the presidential election last year. Monday's indictments indicate that Mr. Mueller took a broader view of his term of office

The indictment of Mr. Manafort and Mr. Gates makes no mention of Mr. Trump or electoral interference. Instead, he describes in detail Mr. Manafort's lobbying work in Ukraine and what prosecutors have said is a plan to hide this money from tax collectors and the public. The authorities said Mr. Manafort has laundered more than $ 18 million.

"Manafort used his hidden foreign wealth to enjoy a lavish lifestyle in the United States without paying taxes on that income," reads in the act. d & # 39; accusation.

Mr. Gates is accused of transferring more than $ 3 million in offshore accounts. Both are also accused of making false statements.

"As part of this scheme, Manafort and Gates have repeatedly misrepresented to accountants, tax accountants and legal advisers," reads in the act. ;charge.

Mr. Papadopoulos admitted that in an interview with the FBI, he lied about his contacts with a Russian professor, whom he knew had "substantial links with Russian government officials", according to court documents. Mr Papadopoulos told the authorities that the conversation had taken place before he became an advisor for Mr Trump's campaign. In fact, he met the teacher a few days after joining the campaign.

The professor is interested in Mr. Papadopoulos "because of his status with the campaign," according to court documents.

Manafort and Mr. Gates went to the F.B.I. early Monday and, through the intermediary of their lawyers, pleaded not guilty to all charges Monday. The two men, dressed in dark blue suits, entered the courtroom with their hands behind their backs. Money laundering, the most serious of the charges, is punishable by imprisonment for up to 20 years

. Manafort has been charging fees since this summer, when F.B.I. The agents searched his home and the prosecutors warned him that they intended to indict him. This warning raised speculation that Mr. Manafort might try to close a deal to avoid prosecution. A senior White House lawyer, Ty Cobb, said last week that the president was confident that Mr. Manafort had no prejudicial information about him.

People close to Mr. Manafort, including his former partner Roger J. Stone Jr., said he had nothing to offer that would help prosecutors mount a complaint against Mr. Trump.

"He will not lie," Stone said in September.

. Gates is a longtime protégé and a junior partner of Mr. Manafort. His name appears on documents related to companies that Mr Manafort 's company created in Cyprus to receive payments from politicians and business people in Eastern Europe, files reviewed by New York. Times. Monday did not succeed. A spokesman for Mr. Manafort did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Manafort, a veteran Republican strategist, joined the Trump campaign in March 2016 to help delegates not break with Mr. Trump in favor of the establishment of Republican candidates. Mr. Trump soon promoted him as president and chief strategist, a job that gave him control over the daily operations of the campaign.

But Mr. Trump fired Mr. Manafort a few months later, after reports that he received over $ 12 million in undisclosed payments from Viktor F. Yanukovych, the former Ukrainian president and pro-Russian politician. Mr. Manafort spent years as a political consultant for Yanukovych.

US intelligence agencies have concluded that Russian President Vladimir V. Putin has launched a furtive campaign of hacking and propaganda to try to damage Hillary Clinton and help Mr. Trump win the elections. The Ministry of Justice appointed Mr. Mueller III Special Adviser in May to conduct the investigation into Russian operations and to determine if anyone around Mr. Trump was involved

. Trump has denied any such collusion, and no evidence has surfaced publicly to contradict him. At the same time, Mr. Trump and his advisers repeatedly denied any contact with the Russians during the campaign, so that reporters would find an undisclosed meeting after the other.

The New York Times revealed in July that Mr. Manafort and other relatives of Mr. Trump met with Russians last year, on the promise to receive damaging political information about Mrs. Clinton.

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