Flow of foreign money to firms tied to Manafort investigated: report

Flow of foreign money to firms tied to Manafort investigated: report

Federal prosecutors in New York have recently interviewed witnesses about the flow of foreign money to three firms linked to former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Lawmakers scramble as shutdown deadline nears CNN's Toobin: 'Almost unrecognizable' Manafort 'in danger of losing his life' in prison The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine - Will there be any last-minute shutdown drama? MORE, according to The New York Times

The firms — Mercury Public Affairs, the Podesta Group and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom — were reportedly recruited by Manafort to work to improve the image of Viktor Yanukovych, who was then president of Ukraine and aligned with Russia.

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It has previously been reported that the Podesta Group and Mercury Public Affairs were being investigated by federal prosecutors. The investigation stems from special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

People who worked with the firms have recently sat for daylong interviews with federal prosecutors in New York, the Times reported, citing several sources familiar with the questioning. The recent interviews were previously unreported. 

The newspaper reported that the interviews were handled by prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. The FBI and the Department of Justice's National Security Division also reportedly helped with the interviews.

According to the Times, the prosecutors' questions have focused on what officials at the firms knew about who was funding their work in 2012 and 2013 and whether the officials intentionally misrepresented the source of that funding.

The Times reported that Ukraine's ruling party was at the root of the funding for the Podesta Group and Mercury Public Affairs and that a Ukrainian oligarch funded the work of Skadden Arps.

Manafort has pleaded guilty to charges, brought by the special counsel, related to his work on behalf of Yanukovych. He was also convicted over the summer on bank and tax fraud charges brought by the special counsel.