Paul Manafort’s shady deal with Ukrainian party makes no sense

More evidence emerged Saturday of the shady operations of the Kremlin-linked Ukraine political party that hired Donald Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort as a consultant.

Somehow, the money Manafort told US authorities he earned in 2012 and 2013 from Ukraine’s Party of Regions exceeded what the party said was its entire operating budget, The New York Times said.

Manaford collected $17 million from working for the party, which was led by Vladimir Putin ally Victor Yanukovych. Manafort reported the sum in a Department of Justice filing in June.

But in reports filed with the Ukraine government, the now-defunct Party of Regions reported total expenses of just $15 million in 2012 and 2013 — less than the sum Manafort collected.

Yanukovych won election as Ukraine’s prime minister in 2010. He fled to Russia in 2014 amid accusations of corruption, vote-rigging and police abuse.

The current Ukrainian government accuses Yanukovych of stealing $1 billion from the national treasury, and in May put him in trial in abstentia for treason. The trial was adjourned on Wednesday and will resume in August.

Manafort’s work for Yanukovych included lobbying the U.S. government to influence its Ukraine policy and establishing a pro-Yanukovych nonprofit in Washington, D.C.

“Any questions about the reporting obligations of the Party of Regions should be directed to those within the party responsible for such reporting,” said Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni.

“Just last month Ukraine officials indicated that there is no proof of illicit payments” to Manafort, Maloni said.

Manafort resigned from the Trump campaign last August after weeks of revelations about his longstanding ties to Yanukovych and other Putin allies.

Manafort was reported last week to have participated in the June 2016 meeting between President Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr., his son-in-law Jared Kushner, Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, and others. Trump Jr. hoped the confab wuld result in…

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