Special counsel Robert Mueller filed 32 new charges against two former officials on President Donald Trump's campaign on Thursday.
Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman, and Rick Gates, Manafort's deputy and longtime associate, were accused in a superseding indictment of misconduct related to tax and bank fraud. Specifically, the two men were charged with failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts; subscribing to false US individual income tax returns; subscribing to a false amended US individual income tax return; and conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
The indictment alleges that more than $75,000,000 flowed through the defendants' offshore accounts, and that Manafort laundered over $30,000,000 in undisclosed income with Gates's assistance.
Manafort and Gates were first indicted last October on 12 counts related to money laundering, tax fraud, conspiracy against the US, and failure to register as foreign agents. Thursday's indictment essentially replaces last year's charges against the defendants.
Gates's initial defense lawyers withdrew from representing him in the Russia probe earlier this month, following his decision to bring on attorney Tom Green, who was reportedly working to negotiate a plea deal for his client. But The Daily Beast reported Thursday that Gates had fired Tom Green and was not leaning towards agreeing to a plea deal, which would likely have required him to testify against Manafort.
Meanwhile, Manafort has insisted he is innocent since October's charges were filed and resisted Mueller's attempts to flip him in the Russia probe.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Alex van der Zwaan, a Russia-linked lawyer closely associated with Manafort and Gates, pleaded guilty to making false statements to investigators about his work for the law firm Skadden, Arps, Meagher, & Flom LLP and Affiliates in 2012. Manafort asked Skadden at the time to compile a report about the 2011 trial of the former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko — an effort Van der Zwaan was involved in.
Manafort's request was made at the behest of Viktor Yanukovych, then the Ukrainian president and Tymoshenko's rival in the country's 2010 election, according to Kyiv Post.
Tymoshenko was jailed in 2011 after the Ukrainian government convicted her of abuse of power. Her trial and subsequent conviction were criticized by human-rights groups and deemed politically motivated by the US, the UK, German, Italy, Spain, and other European countries.
Skadden was roped into the controversy over the Tymoshenko report when it emerged that the former Ukrainian Justice Minister Oleksandr Lavrynovych embezzled over $1 million to pay the law firm for its work.
After facing mounting pressure from American and Ukrainian prosecutors, Skadden refunded about half the amount it was paid for the Tymoshenko report to the Ukrainian government in June 2017. Three months later, in September, Mueller's office raised more questions to Skadden about its work for Yanukovych in 2012.
The next month, the special counsel charged both Manafort and Gates with the first 12 counts related to their business dealings and work for the Ukrainian government. Among other things, the indictment accused the two men of using an offshore account to illegally funnel $4 million to pay for the Tymoshenko report.
Thursday's charges, coupled with Van der Zwaan's guilty plea on Tuesday, will likely put further pressure on both Manafort and Gates to become cooperating witnesses.