AP confirms Manafort's 'Black Ledger' Ukraine payouts

AP confirms Manafort's 'Black Ledger' Ukraine payouts
© Greg Nash

Newly obtained financial records obtained by The Associated Press appear to confirm Paul Manafort’s consulting firm received at least $1.2 million in "Black Ledger" Ukraine payouts.

The ledger, which first emerged last August while Manafort was serving as then-presidential candidate Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpChelsea Clinton announces birth of third child Ukrainian officials and Giuliani are sharing back-channel campaign information: report Trump attacks 'the Squad' as 'racist group of troublemakers' MORE’s campaign manager, detailed payments in 2007 and 2009 while the firm was working for a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine.

Manafort had previously challenged the ledger’s authenticity, saying he never took off-the-books payments.

“Any wire transactions received by my company are legitimate payments for political consulting work that was provided,” he said in a statement from consulting firm Davis Manafort.

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“I invoiced my clients and they paid via wire transfer, which I received through a U.S. bank,” Manafort added, noting he agreed to payments according to his “clients’ preferred financial institutions and instructions.”

The Associated Press said one $750,000 payment Manafort’s firm received was described by a Ukrainian lawmaker last month as part of a money-laundering effort that should be probed by U.S. authorities.

A second payment, for $455,249, also matched a ledger entry, the AP said, a document which is part of a larger pattern of corruption under former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Manafort’s past work in Eastern Europe has come under fresh scrutiny as lawmakers probe Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. Intelligence officials say Russian officials sought to help elect Trump, and the FBI is probing any possible coordination between Moscow and his campaign.