Vatnik Soup
Soup number94
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Vatnik’s professionPolitical consultant
Vatnik’s country of originUnited States
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Paul Manafort

In today’s #vatnik soup, I’ll introduce an American lobbyist and political consultant Paul Manafort. Manafort was a long-time Republican Party campaign consultant, but is best known for his connections to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska & for leading the 2016 Trump campaign.
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Paul has participated and campaigned for several prominent American Republicans, including Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, Bob Dole and of course Donald Trump.

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But he’s also been involved in lobbying various other shady figures throughout his career. It seems that he would accept almost anyone as a client, as long as they were paying enough.

In 1980, Manafort founded a DC-based lobbying firm Black, Manafort & Stone (BMSK) together with Charles R. Black Jr. and Roger Stone. The latter is well-known for his flirting with prominent QAnon figures and he also worked in the Trump campaign until Aug, 2015.

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In 1985, BMSK signed a 600 000 USD contract with Jonas Savimbi, who was the leader of the Angolan rebel group UNITA. The firm branded Savimbi as anti-communist and secured aid of hundreds of millions of dollars from the Congress to him.

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Manafort also lobbied a Filipino dictator and kleptocrat Ferdinand Marcos. For this, BMSK earned a annual sum of 950 000 USD. Marcos’s reign was infamous for its brutality and corruption - Filipino organization ...

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... Presidential Commission on Good Government later revealed that Marcos and his family had stolen 5 to 10 billion USD from the Central Bank of the Philippines.

Another controversial figure Manafort and BMSK lobbied was the president of Zaire, Mobutu Sese Seko.

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This deal secured the firm 1 000 000 USD annually. Under his kleptocratic rule, the nation suffered from massive inflation and widespread human rights violations. Sese Seko embezzled something between 4 and 15 billion USd during his rule.

In Dec, 2004, Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska arranged a meeting between Manafort and Ukraine’s richest oligarch, Rinat Akhmetov. His job was to help Akhmetov’s holding firm, System Capital Management, to survive the political crisis after the Orange Revolution.

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Manafort later brought Akhmetov to Washington DC to meet with prominent US officials like Dick Cheney. Akhmetov allegedly has connections to organized crime, and before this he had fled to Monaco after being accused of murder in Ukraine.

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From 2004 until 2010, he worked as an adviser for pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych and for his political party Party of Regions. Between 2007 and 2008 Paul was involved in various investment projects in Ukraine while working for Deripaska, after which they signed another deal.
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This deal earned him 10 million USD annually & his job was to promote Russian interests in Europe and in the US. In 2010 Deripaska loaned 10 million USD to Manafort which he allegedly never repaid. Even though Manafort had earned a lot of money from his lobbying efforts, ...
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..., he was massively indebted: as of Feb, 2017, Manafort had approximately 12 million USD in home equity loans outstanding. NBC News also found documents that showed 27 million USD loans from two Cyprus entities to a company connected to Manafort.

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In 2014 Manafort had big role in creation of the political party Opposition Bloc, a pro-Russian political party, in Ukraine. This party was generally perceived as a successor for Yanukovych’s Party of Regions.

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National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine claimed in 2016 that they had found records that show 12, 7 million USD cash payments designated for Manafort. This money came from the Party of Regions and the payments were allegedly done between 2007 and 2012.

Leaked texts between Paul and his daughter revealed, that he supported the violent opposition of Euromaidan protestors, which resulted to several deaths from the bullets of Berkut riot police.

Paul worked closely with ex-GRU employee Konstantin Kilimnik.

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Kilimnik and Manafort helped Yanukovych to win the presidency in 2010. Kilimnik and Manafort also assisted several pro-Russian Ukrainian and Russian oligarchs and tried to ensure that Yanukovych would sever ties to the US and Europe.

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FBI started investigating Manafort in 2014. Manafort also became a person of interest in the FBI counterintel probe of Russian interference in the 2016 US election.The US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence concluded in Aug, 2020 that while working as Trump’s campaign...18/21 Image
...manager, “Manafort worked with Kilimnik starting in 2016 on narratives that sought to undermine evidence that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election”. During the Trump campaign, Manafort shared information secretly with Kilimnik, who then shared it with the Russians.19/21
In Aug, 2018, Manafort was convicted by the Eastern District of Virginia on five counts of tax fraud. Robert Mueller’s office advised that he should receive a sentence between 20 to 24 years, but in Mar, 2019 he was sentenced to just 47 months in prison.

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District of Columbia convicted Manafort to additional 43 months in jail. He was jailed between 2018-2020, after which he was released to home confinement due to COVID-19 concerns. In Dec, 2020 Trump issued Manafort a full pardon and he was released.

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