Former Trump campaign chair’s firm received Ukraine Black Ledger payout
WASHINGTON— Last August, a handwritten ledger surfaced in Ukraine with dollar amounts and dates next to the name of Paul Manafort, who was then Donald Trump’s campaign chairperson.
Ukrainian investigators called it evidence of off-the-books payments from a pro-Russian political party — and part of a larger pattern of corruption under the country’s former president. Manafort, who worked for the party as an international political consultant, has publicly questioned the ledger’s authenticity.
Now, financial records newly obtained by The Associated Press confirm that at least $1.2 million (U.S.) in payments listed in the ledger next to Manafort’s name were actually received by his consulting firm in the United States. They include payments in 2007 and 2009, providing the first evidence that Manafort’s firm received at least some money listed in the so-called Black Ledger. The two payments came years before Manafort became involved in Trump’s campaign, but for the first time bolster the credibility of the ledger. They also put the ledger in a new light, as federal prosecutors have been investigating Manafort’s work in Eastern Europe as part of a larger anti-corruption probe. In a statement to the Associated Press, Manafort did not deny that his firm received the money but said “any wire transactions received by my company are legitimate payments for political consulting work that was provided. I invoiced my clients and they paid via wire transfer, which I received through a U.S. bank.”