Paul Manafort, who was the chairman of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, has been ordered to provide documents relating to questionable loans.
CBS News reported on Tuesday evening that the office of the Manhattan District Attorney is officially demanding Manafort provide documentation concerning $16 million in loans granted by Federal Savings Bank (FSB). The bank itself is headed by Steve Calk, who served as an advisor to the Trump campaign.
While the loan documents from FSB being subpoenaed concern two real estate properties in New York and one in Virginia that are owned by Manafort, the former Trump campaign chief previously made headlines earlier this year when it was discovered that he made several real estate purchases in New York in cash. NBC News reported in March that the purchases were made using LLCs owned by Manafort, which were later transferred to his own name.
“The first thing is, where did the person get the money to pay cash for multi-million-dollar properties?” Attorney and anti-money laundering expert Ross Delston told NBC News. “That is something you typically see with ultra-high-net-worth individuals — people worth more than $50 million. And not only that, you have to be liquid.”
As Joe Pesci’s Leo Getz explained in Lethal Weapon 2, a great way to launder money is to grant loans without the expectation of having the borrower pay them back:
Before he joined the Trump campaign, Manafort was paid $17 million by a pro-Russia group for political consulting done in Ukraine, which eventually required him to officially register as a foreign agent. Manafort was sacked following a bombshell report in the Associated Press revealing that Manafort helped the pro-Russia group secretly move $2.2 million into two major DC-based lobbying firms. Hacked text messages from Manafort’s daughter’s phone reveal that she was concerned about the “blood money” her father received from Kremlin-affiliated groups.
Both Manafort and his son-in-law, Jeffrey Yohai, are being investigated by the FBI over suspicious real estate deals in both New York and California. Manafort is also ensnared in the FBI investigation into whether or not the Trump campaign illegally colluded with the Russian government during the course of the 2016 election.
Michael Boone is a freelance journalist and columnist writing about politics, government, race, and media. He graduated from Texas Southern University’s School of Communication, and lives in Houston’s Third Ward.