Manafort-linked accounts on Cyprus probed: report

Manafort-linked accounts on Cyprus probed: report
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Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortTrump has publicly criticized Russia probe more than 1,100 times: NY Times Judge orders Stone to appear in court after he shared photo of her with crosshairs Roger Stone shares, quickly deletes Instagram photo of federal judge on his case MORE, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump nominates Jeffrey Rosen to replace Rosenstein at DOJ McCabe says ‘it’s possible’ Trump is a Russian asset McCabe: Trump ‘undermining the role of law enforcement’ MORE’s former 2016 campaign manager, had bank accounts in Cyprus that were investigated for possible money-laundering, according to a new report.

Manafort closed the accounts after questions were raised about some of the accounts' transactions, NBC News reported Tuesday, citing two banking sources with direct knowledge of Manafort's business in Cyprus.

The former Trump aide was associated with at least 15 bank accounts and 10 companies on Cyprus dating back to 2007, NBC reported, adding that the questions triggered an internal investigation into potential money-laundering activities.

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A spokesman for Manafort said that the bank accounts were set up "for a legitimate business purpose" and that they were set up at the direction of clients in Cyprus.

“All were legitimate entities and established for lawful ends,” the spokesman told NBC, adding that Manafort “has no specific personal recollection” about the account closures in question.

Manafort’s spokesman said most of the accounts associated with him were closed just before a government takeover of the Cypriot bank amid a banking crisis in 2012.

The former Trump aide's finances have come under new scrutiny, with another report earlier Tuesday finding that Manafort bought three homes in New York City between 2006 and 2013, paying the full amount each time so there was no mortgage.

Manafort then reportedly borrowed approximately $12 million against those three homes between April 2015 and January 2017, a period including his time with the Trump campaign.

“My investments in real estate are personal and all reflect arms-length transactions,” he said in an email to WNYC News when asked about his properties in Trump Tower, Soho and Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.

Reports emerged last week that Treasury Department agents had obtained details concerning overseas financial transactions involving Manafort as part of a federal anti-corruption probe.

The Associated Press reported that Manafort secretly worked with a Russian billionaire to advance the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government a decade ago.

Oleg Deripaska partnered with Manafort after he crafted a strategy as early as June 2005 for undermining anti-Russian sentiment across former Soviet republics.

Manafort and other former Trump campaign officials with possible ties to Russia are under renewed scrutiny as lawmakers probe Moscow’s interference in the 2016 race.