As the White House continues to deny any collusion with Russia during the 2016 election, we’re now learning that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has links to a man believed to be the “boss of bosses” in the notorious Russian mafia.
According to a report from Betsy Woodruff in The Daily Beast, Manafort and a man by the name of Semion Mogilevich share a fondness for a Cypriot financial entity known to be used for money laundering:
“The indictment (PDF), unsealed on Monday, includes an extensive look into Paul Manafort’s byzantine financial dealings. In particular, it details how he used a company called Lucicle Consultants Limited to wire millions of dollars into the United States.
“The Cyprus-based Lucicle Consultants Limited, in turn, reportedly received millions of dollars from a businessman and Ukrainian parliamentarian named Ivan Fursin, who is closely linked to one of Russia’s most notorious criminals: Semion Mogilevich.
“Mogilevich is frequently described as “the most dangerous mobster in the world.” Currently believed to be safe in Moscow, he is, according to the FBI, responsible for weapons trafficking, contract killings, and international prostitution. In 2009, he made the bureau’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.”
This raises the obvious question: Did Manafort also introduce Trump to Mogilevich so that Trump businesses could launder money for the Russian mafia, which is believed to have extensive holdings in the United States via shell companies?
Manafort also took money from Fursin, who is also known to launder money through an offshore entity called Mistaro Ventures. Earlier this year, The New York Times reported that Mistaro:
“Transferred millions to Lucicle in February 2012 shortly before Lucicle made the $9.9 million loan to Jesand L.L.C., a Delaware company that Mr. Manafort previously used to buy real estate in New York.”
So money is passed from one shell company to another and finally to Manafort, who invests it New York properties. This is how Russia gained leverage over Manafort and potentially might have done the same with Trump.
Martin Shiel, a retired criminal investigator for the IRS, had this to say about the Manafort indictment and what it means:
“This indictment strongly indicates the existence of a previously unknown relationship between an alleged Russian organized crime leader and Mr. Manafort.”
No collusion with Russia? Only in the alternate reality created by Donald Trump’s endless lies is that even remotely the case.
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org