Yulia Tymoshenko Warned Us About Paul Manafort Years Ago

Why didn't the Obama administration do anything?


Vereshchagin Arkhip/ZUMA Press/Newscom

Yulia Tymoshenko warned us about Paul Manafort years ago.

In a civil complaint, the former Ukrainian prime minister accused Manafort—who would go on to chair Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign—of conspiring with Ukrainian and Russian partners to launder dirty money through "a labyrinth of shell companies" in the U.S.

These companies, it claims, "were solely used for purposes of furthering the unlawful objectives" of people like Dmytro Firtash, a Ukrainian businessman indicted in 2009 for U.S. racketeering and money laundering, and Russian crime boss Semyon Mogilevich, who made the FBI's "Most Wanted" list for suspected fraud, racketeering, and money laundering.

Documents filed in the civil action reveal many similar allegations to those Manafort and Gates are now facing at the hands of U.S. Department of Justice special prosecutor Robert Mueller.

On Monday, a federal grand jury indicted the former Trump-campaign chairman and Rick Gates, a Manafort business associate, for conspiracy to launder money, making false statements, failing to register as an agent of foreign principal, and failing to file reports on foreign bank accounts. (For a detailed breakdown of the charges, see Popehat.) They pleaded not guilty Monday afternoon.

The DOJ indictment accuses Manafort and Gates of "extensive lobbying" in the U.S. on behalf of Ukrainian interests and "in connection with the roll out of a report concerning the Tymoshenko trial commissioned by the Government of Ukraine."

Manafort and Gates paid $4 million to law firm Skadden Arps to monitor and report on the Tymoshenko proceedings, ostensibly on behalf of an "independent" European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (which they had helped set up), the indictment says. And it claims that "between at least 2006 and 2015, Manafort and Gates acted as unregistered agents of the Government of Ukraine, the Party of Regions (a Ukrainian political party whose leader Victor Yanukovych was President from 2010 to 2014), Yanukovych, and the Opposition Bloc (a successor to the Party of Regions that formed in 2014 when Yanukovych fled to Russia), generating "tens of millions of dollars in income as a result" and "launder[ing] the money through scores of United States and foreign corporations, partnerships, and bank accounts."

The work was done through Davis Manafort Partners (DMP), which Manafort co-founded in 2005, and DMP International (DMI), founded in Manafort and his wife Kathleen in 2011. Rick Gates worked for both entities Through these agencies, Manafort and Gates helped propel Viktor Yanukovych to the Ukrainian presidency and oversaw a "watchdog" report on the prosecution of his opposition.

Tymoshenko, who served as prime minster from 2007 through 2010, was not just an enemy of Tanukovych's but also of Firtash and Mogilevich. In an agreement with Russia, she helped cut Firtash's company out as a profitable middleman in natural-gas deals between the two countries.

Tymoshenko's suit against Firtash and unnamed Yanukovych officials was first filed in U.S. court in April 2011, when Yanukovych was still president. Later amended complaints were eventually filed—the second in November 2014, after Yanukovych had been forced to flee Ukraine amid protests over his administration's corruption and thuggery—and also named Manafort and his partners at CMZ Ventures.

The suit accused Manafort, Firtash, and the other defendants of financing politically motivated and "unlawful investigations and prosecutions of Tymoshenko" and her associates through secret payments to Yanukovich and others in his administration or control. Their money-laundering and shell-company scheme "was the proximate cause of Tymoshenko's damages, since it provided the necessary funds to make the unlawful payments to the Ukraine prosecutors and other corrupt administration officials," the complaint alleges.

Documents show that in December 2008, Manafort met with Firtash in the Ukraine, where Firtash agreed to an initial capital investment of $100 million in a global fund managed—for an initial fee of $1.5 million—by CMZ Ventures. An email sent by Gates in January 2009 summarizes the meeting, noting that Firtash's company "is still totally on board and a wire will be forthcoming either the end of this week or next week as a partial payment on the 1.5 [million]."

CMZ Ventures was jointly controlled by Manafort, Zackson, and Arthur and Karen Cohen. The suit claims this crew "defraud[ed] innocent third party real estate owners, investors and businesses… through sham real estate development and sales proposals that lured said third parties into thinking that defendants were making legitimate investments."

CMZ expressed interest in and made bids on flashy New York development projects like the Drake Hotel and St. Johns Terminal. But none of these deals went through—and they were never supposed to, claims Tymoshenko. The bids were merely a ploy to confer legitimacy on CMZ Ventures and attract more investors, whose money could be funneled into one of myriad U.S. and Panamanian accounts.

Former CMZ employees filed a New York labor-practices complaint against the company in 2009, accusing leaders of failing to pay them, not withholding payroll taxes or keeping proper records, not reimbursing them for travel costs, and "frequent creation of new Limited Liability Companies which serve as shell companies."

Scott Snizek, who would eventually join Tymoshenko's lawsuit, even sent Sens. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) a letter begging them to look into "corporate wrongdoings in our own backyard" committed by Manafort and company, whom he described as figures "well-known and falsely respected by the public." His warning went unheeded.

And, in September 2015, Tymoshenko's suit was dismissed by a U.S. District Judge for lack of jurisdiction.

But in that suit lie the seeds of the current DOJ complaint against Manafort. The conspiracy Tymoshenko alleged may be worth revisiting.

Like the DOJ indictment, Tymoshenko's suit raised questions about law firm Skadden Arms and one of its partners, Gregory B. Craig, former White House counsel to Barack Obama. Documents seized from a former Yunukovych prosecutor's home included an August 2012 email from Craig to Manafort about the report, and an early draft of the Skadden report that had been annotated by Ukrainian government officials.

Tymoshenko theorized that Manafort and Gates had been commissioned to steer the investigation "away from certain sensitive areas (such as the massive, politically-motivated violations of human rights and suppression of political dissent) and towards less dangerous subjects (relatively minor procedural irregularities in the Tymoshenko investigations and prosecutions)."

Emails included Tymoshenko's case also show Gates and Manafort doing business with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who was denied entry to the U.S. in 2006 because of his alleged ties to organized Russian crime. The meeting between Deripaska and Manafort "is significant in that it confirms that Manafort had direct contacts with high-level Russian figures who were… under investigation by the FBI and [DOJ] for alleged money laundering and other criminal activities," it notes.

And according to Tymoshenko and co-defendants, there's no way Manafort didn't know what he was doing. As "a key advisor to former-President Yanukovych and other Ukraine political figures since 2003, he knew exactly how Firtash and his affiliated companies and co-conspirators were able to skim billions of dollars from the natural gas deals between Russia and Ukraine. He also knew that the monies were used to acquire ownership and control of various U.S.-based companies in furtherance of" racketeering, their suit states.

In doing so, "Manafort gave Firtash and his European-based co-conspirators the opportunity to participate with the U.S.-based defendants in a new Racketeering Enterprise focused on corporate acquisitions, money laundering and other racketeering activities in the United States, where it continues to operate," said the amended complaint in November 2014.

If only we had taken it seriously then.

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  1. I don’t get it. Who was harmed?

    1. yeah that’s what I was wondering, “conspiracy to launder money, making false statements, failing to register as an agent of foreign principal, and failing to file reports on foreign bank accounts”, are all bullish regarding people keeping their own property out of govts’ grubby hands. The taxes and fees for transferring money out of many countries are absurd, of course people skirt them. I did see mention of racketeering but no details on an actual racket.

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    2. It’s not like Tymoshenko is a saint. She is as corrupt as they come. Justin Raimondo has been writing about her for years.

      1. I don’t know how anyone can write about this stuff and stay awake.

      2. I didn’t even recognize her photo without the braid.

      3. Either you’re correct or a Putin bot. What I wanna know is whether her hair is real.

      4. Still, she’s one politician I wouldn’t mind screwing me.

        1. I think you meant one politicians you wouldn’t mind getting screwed by!

      5. Chipper, it would be helpful if you provided a link regarding Tymosheko being “as corrupt as they come”. My reading of doesn’t show that. Instead I do see a lot of effort to harm her by bringing false charges against her that were dropped due to lack of evidence.

        After all, if people believe all the BS Hillary, Obama and the MSM say about Trump, who could conclude that he isn’t corrupt? There’s a lot of dirty politicians out there, and they will try and make their opposition, including those trying to expose them, look just as dirty.

  2. If only we had taken it seriously then.

    Hitlery still would’ve lost, Liz.

  3. All part of Trump’s 8th-level wizard chess strategy to drain the swamp. If only your brains were as good as Trump you’d see this was the plan all along.

    1. An 8th-level wizard can’t even cast Dismissal.

    2. Watch Podesta and Hillary get dragged into this investigation.

      It will be so funny because Democrats in Congress have told the media that they warned Trump not to mess with Mueller’s investigation.

      Trump already knows he’s clean and that this is going to expose Democrat dealings with Russia about Ukraine too.

      Trump can pardon anyone he wants and probably does not plan to pardon Podesta nor Hillary nor Obama.

      Trump’s nth D chess…. places lefty King in check.

      1. You people are all fucking sick.

        1. “You people are all fucking sick.”

          You’re a fucking liar and a loser, loser:
          “The Clinton camp and DNC funded what became the Trump-Russia dossier: Here’s what it means”
 /news/the-fix/wp/2017/10/25/the-clinton- camp-and-the-dnc-helped-pay- for-that-trump-russia-dossier- heres-what-it-means/?utm_ term=.d2902768f567

        2. Tony, when the hag finally fries, probably with a lot of your other marxist masters, I look forward to your cries of agony. You truly deserve to suffer.

          1. You are a cancer on America. You’re the ones who need to be excised from society.

            1. No moron. You are a marxist. The most evil and loathsome thing ever. Do you ever wonder why you feel like you constantly have to lie and be such a weasel? It’s because marxism is incompatible with decent or honesty.

              And as it happens, I am good and decent. Unlike you.

            2. Tony|11.1.17 @ 10:54AM|#
              “You are a cancer on America.”

              Poor Tony. Poor, poor pathetic loser Tony. Poor little shit is in denial after a year, for Pete’s sake; you’d think he’s some whiny 15YO posting from Mom’s basement.
              If we didn’t know he’s an adult in years who simply refuses to GROW UP, YOU FUCKING SORRY EXCUSE FOR A HUMAN BEING!

            3. Goosestepper Tony, who advocates his cronies boots on your throat, calls other people cancer. Wow.

  4. Given that the investigators might have violated his Fourth Amendment rights in their raid, this might not go far.

    1. “A so-called right codified by slaveholders

  5. Because Obama spent 7 1/2 years being butt buddies with Russia letting Putin and his puppet Medvedev do whatever they wanted and actually ridiculing anybody who said Russia was a serious threat. Obama was so intent on getting his shitty Iran deal that he ignored the rest of the world and refused to do anything that might anger Russia, who never stopped being our number one “geopolitical foe”.

    1. Russia is a fart in the wind on the national stage. They haven’t been a significant threat since the end of the Cold War. But, empire’s got to empire.

      1. Any country with enough nukes to blanket-fuck the planet can never be considered a non-threat. Especially when they aren’t doing very well.

        1. I agree. Dismissing Russia as a worthless adversary is a mistake. Plus with Putin, Russia is easy to handle. That guy just uses threats of force and actual force to stay in power. Meanwhile he wastes more and more of Russia’s resources for these empire fallacies. Same thing the USSR did.

          Russia has no interest in helping North Korea attain nukes and Russia is not even a strong enough player to do anything in North Korea. Russia cannot even make sure King Assad wins in Syria.

          Anyone who knows anything about global politics knows that Russia is looking for warm water ports. Also that Iran and China are not true allies of Russia as they have conflicting interests and bad history. Russia does not want to be surrounded on all sides by nuclear states but already has China, North Korea, Europe, Israel, and the USA on most sides.

          1. …Russia has no interest in helping North Korea attain nukes

            I’m not so sure about that one given that they appear to have at least tangentially assisted them with their nuclear program. I wouldn’t pretend to know why, but there have been reports suggesting as much. Who knows how accurate such things are though.

            1. It could be that Russia does not think that North Korea would ever use nukes on them. Russia and NK have cooperated in the old Cold War days against the USA and maybe Putin thinks he can control Fat Boy-Un.

              Putin is an old Cold War KGB fool. Russians would be better off without him.

    2. Well, Obama wasn’t able to be too ‘flexible’ until after the 2012 election.

  6. I’m sure you just forgot to mention that the FBI investigated Manafort in 2014 and didn’t find enough evidence charge him. Because that would undermine the narrative that this is somehow Obama’s fault, and you wouldn’t intentionally leave that out.

    1. LOL like we have any confidence when the FBI “doesn’t find enough evidence”. Good one.

    2. But everything in these new charges happened before 2014, so that’s. Are we believing the FBI at face value now?

    3. This is not the FBI, this is a special prosecutor appointed by Congress who is using grand juries to get indictments.

      The Justice Department can drop charges if it wants.

      1. Sorry, Mueller is special counsel that was appointed by DOJ Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein with the approval of Congress.

        The DOJ can still refuse to prosecute the indictment submitted by a grand jury.

        1. The DOJ should spend the bulk of their efforts putting crooked democrats in prison. All things considered, they have their work cut out for them.

          1. Do you even hear yourself? In non-moronized English, you just said: “US law enforcement should imprison ppl based on their political affiliations”. What on Earth leads you to believe that explicitly running the DOJ like Stalin’s KGB would be a good move for the US, exactly? And why are you spewing this kind of totalitarian, one party nonsense on a *libertarian* website of all places?

  7. We have no dog in this fight.

    If we had been more serious about tax enforcement then he would have just spent his money elsewhere. I don’t see why we care which mob faction skims Ukrainian gas money.

    So, yes, prosecute him for tax fraud but I haven’t seen anything that actually puts the US at risk.

    1. It puts Obama, Hillary, and Podesta at risk of being exposed for all the shady government shit they did relating to Russia and also Ukraine.

      1. The besets thing ever is to get one of them in a position where they rat out the others..

  8. Does anybody find it funny that the media is conflating Ukraine for Russia in all of these reports? I skimmed through the Manafort indictment and I don’t think the word “Russia” ever appeared. Is it just me or has “Russia” become this boogeyman type of thing, intended to invoke fear in the hearts of the electorate.

    I guess the media is just pining for the “good ol’ days” when Ukraine and Russia were one happy family. /sarc

    1. No, because the media is not doing that.

      1. Paint Thinner|10.31.17 @ 11:03AM|#
        “No, because the media is not doing that.”

        You’re full of shit.

    2. Yes this is very odd…Ukrainian nationalists and Russians are completely mutually opposed politically so their “Russian collusion” narrative falls apart if they are claiming collusion with a Ukrainian nationalist…which is it, cant’ be both?

    3. Russians are actively trying to annex parts of Ukraine and have already seized the Crimea.

      Ukrainian Ex-President Viktor Yanukovych is pro-Russian and did not want to move closer to the EU by signing an agreement back in 2013. A Feb 2014 revolution removed Yanukovych and his government.

      Putin got pissed and seized the Crimea from Ukraine and then supplied Russian supporting people in the eastern Donbass region of Ukraine with weapons and sent in Russian troops “on leave” into the area.

      In July 2014, Malaysian airlines flight 17 was shot down over that eastern part of Ukraine by Russian supplied troops. Russia vetoed criminal prosecution attempted in the UN security council.

      Ukrainians tend to fear Russia so they want to maintain good relations but refuse to give up territory, except the Crimea, because appeasement is not working with Russia.

      The Ukrainians have been fighting ever since.

      1. Calling Yanukovych “pro-russian” is a bit too mild; during his administration he ran the Ukraine like a soviet-era satellite state & deferred consistently in both domestic & foreign policy to Russian Federation interests. That, and his Ukraine was an utter kleptocracy whose gears were oiled by $$$ from Russian owned biz & Russian organized crime.

  9. So, it’s just an open-and-shut case of Trump colluding with the Russians to betray our democracy. Case closed.

  10. I think it’s more troubling that we helped to overthrow a democratically elected president in Ukraine, because he was pro-Russia and now due to over hyped Russia fever dreams we act as if that president was illegitimate and deride him as ‘Putin’s puppet’ because we didn’t like him.

  11. Smoking gun! Collusion! Impeach Trump! (Lather rinse repeat) That’s pretty much all the Leftist-Democrats are posting now about this. Dooesn’t matter what the facts are, after all you can’t spell “fascist” without “facts”.

    1. The facts are that Papadopoulous was a low-level volunteer who sneaked into Drumpf’s National Security Council meeting on March 31.

      Wipe the corners of your mouth, a little is dripping

      1. Even funnier is when Hillary’s illegal conduct is swept up into this witch hunt and she won’t be getting a pardon from Trump.

      2. Paint Thinner|10.31.17 @ 11:07AM|#
        “The facts are that Papadopoulous was a low-level volunteer who sneaked into Drumpf’s National Security Council meeting on March 31.”

        The fact is that paint thinner is a fucking lefty ignoramus who tries to make funnies and believes any lefty crap he finds. Here, asshole:

        “But Papadopoulos, a campaign volunteer with scant foreign policy experience, persisted. Between March and September [2016], the self-described energy consultant sent at least a half-dozen requests for Trump, as he turned from primary candidate to party nominee, or for members of his team to meet with Russian officials. Among those to express concern about the effort was then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who rejected in May 2016 a proposal from Papadopoulos for Trump to do so.” news/politics/wp/2017/10/30/ who-is-george-papadopoulos-the- trump-adviser-who-pleaded- guilty-to-lying-to-federal-agents/ ?utm_term=.c6de8901ae8e

        1. Papadapoulous is not the target of the investigation. No one important is claiming he was a major campaign decision maker. What many are speculating is that he was turned states evidence by the feds. Overcharging a low-level flunky in order to flip him as part of a plea that involves testifying against former associates is part for the course here.

          1. “Overcharging a low-level flunky in order to flip him as part of a plea that involves testifying against former associates is part for the course here.”

            I don’t doubt this, but from what I read, his access was so limited, he’s not likely to have been included in any funny-business, assuming there was such.

  12. Yes, Obama’s fault that Manafort was a fraud. Likewise, Obama’s fault that Drumpf ripped off Drumpf Univ. students.

    1. And Obama’s fault that mueller’s FBI had to step in to protect hillary from yey another bribery scandal over uranium one. Just add it to the list of the “scandal free” administration.

      Now someone get me perkins coie on the line!

      1. The funniest thing is lefties think that Trump is worried. Worst case is that he has to pardon these guys but the Justice Department will probably drop the charges as no reasonable prosecutor would try this case.

        Trump is letting the left think they have the upper hand because this is how Hillary’s crimes will be exposed and then she can be prosecuted without a Trump pardon waiting.

        1. No, dude. The “worst case” is that a grand jury indicts Trump and forces a Constitutional crisis. Because Republicans control Congress making impeachment impossible, an indictment is currently the only mechanism for holding the president accountable to the rule of law. Notice how I am not saying Trump broke the law here, Im saying that if he did he could not be impeached. Anyone who cares about the rule of law should be disgusted w a situation in which the highest officials in the land cannot be held accountable for criminal acts. The crisis I mentioned earlier would come about following an indictment because the administration & RNC would argue that the president cannot be indicted. In fact many “legal scholars” made precisely this argument in the media a few months ago; the rationalization was that because a president has not been indicted that must mean a president cannot be indicted. The implications of all of this extend far beyond Trump or whoever – we are arguing about the very structure of the Republic. You should think about whether winning the moment’s political argument is worth establishing a precedent that makes a president US w a friendly Congress above the rule of law. at that point the American experiment in liberty is really over. A country is not free when the executive can authorize assassinations of anyone including children, can spy on anyone for any reason, can unilaterally launch wars, seize property, detain anyone indefinitely without charge, etc

          1. After you clean out your pants, maybe you could suggest what charges might apply.
            Disregard below; this was to be in reply to this.

  13. So Reason supports using Oppo research and a FISA warrant/wiretap to indict someone for tax evasion?

    1. Notably, you will not find tax evasion as one of the charges Manafort is facing. Curious, that.

      1. The indictment reads
        “Manafort used his hidden overseas wealth to enjoy a lavish lifestyle in the United States without paying taxes on that income,”

        “Failure To File Reports Of Foreign Bank And Financial Accounts”

        1. Did you read the actual charges against him? There is no charge of tax evasion.

          That sentence, and the entire legal sphere, are scratching their heads on that one.

  14. If I get this right…the libtards, who claim Trump is in collusion with the Russians are trying to smear Trump because he’s campaigned with a Ukrainian nationalist who laundered some of his own money back in 2006 so the IRS couldn’t grab it? This makes no sense since Russia and Ukraine presumably have mutually exclusive and opposed political interests. And since when does someone who is politically active for a foreign country need to register as an agent of that country? If that is the case, most of Hollywood would have to register on behalf of Israel. Most Latinos would have to register as a “quasi-political agent” on behalf of Mexico.

    1. “And since when does someone who is politically active for a foreign country need to register as an agent of that country?”
      The US government does not want any competition that they don’t know about.

      1. The comment below is not a response to Sugarsail; it’s meant for others who might read the thread. I’m not going to engage a racist.

        Lobbyists are required to publicly register every organization that they represent. Lobbyists can get in trouble if they fail to register as a lobbyist for Coca-Cola, NVM the Ukrainian govt. IIRC the registration process is different for registering as a foreign agent and the consequences for failing to register are more severe. I can’t remember exactly when the foreign agent rules were put into place – IIRC McCain feingold changed the rules a bit but they had already been in place for decades. Campaign finance laws are not a new thing & right or wrong they have wide bipartisan support. IMO many if the rules are not defensible as a libertarian, however I generally think that requiring lobbyists to at least tell the public the represent a foreign power isn’t really so horrible. The American people have a direct interest in knowing whether their elected officials are receiving payments from foreign governments.

        1. After you clean out your pants, maybe you could suggest what charges might apply.

          1. Posted in wrong location; see above

    2. You realize that everyone realizes you’re a moron the instant you use “libtard”

  15. For me the key takeaway is that Manafort, Trump’s campaign chairman, clearly has the skills and connections to launder money provided by Russian agents.

    There’s no direct evidence YET that Trump had money from Russian sources laundered into his campaign funds, but he had the connections to do so, if he wanted to.

    1. Is that the key takeaway?

      The key takeaway from what I see, is the Democrat Mueller getting a grand jury to indict Manafort and the Justice Department will not prosecute the case.

      1. Mueller is a republican.

    2. Why the hell would Trump need to launder money from the Russians? That makes no sense at all.

  16. RE: Yulia Tymoshenko Warned Us About Paul Manafort Years Ago
    Why didn’t the Obama administration do anything?

    Money laundering here in the USA?
    Isn’t that what “campaign contributions” are for?

  17. And this has what to do with Hairman Booring’s defeat of Bill’s wife? Oh right, nothing…

  18. Yulia Tymoshenko could tell me that horses can dial telephones and water burns like kerosine, and I’d believe her.

  19. The good news is the number of bar exams have dropped below 60k the last few years. The bad news is Beltway real estate isn’t getting any cheaper. one good decade-long investigation would be a home run.

  20. ENB is the libertarian pussy-hat resistance…

  21. Why?
    Because Manafort was a convenient back-door into the Kremlin for the Obama Administration.

  22. Does anyone have a reason that lobbyists stepping foreign governments should be allowed to exist? Isn’t that part of the reason ambassadors exist

    1. Crazy mick|11.2.17 @ 3:17AM|#
      “Does anyone have a reason that lobbyists stepping foreign governments should be allowed to exist?”

      Uh, because A-1?
      Was that hard?

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