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WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort was on Monday charged with conspiracy against the US and money laundering, a significant development in a special counsel investigation into Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Manafort, 68, and his business associate Rick Gates, 45, surrendered to federal authorities and they were expected in court later today to face charges.
The two have been charged on 12 counts including conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading US Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) statements, and false statements.
The indictment is part of the investigations being done by former FBI chief Robert Mueller, who has been appointed by the Department of Justice as a special counsel to probe into the allegations of Russian interference into the presidential elections and the connection with the Trump Campaign if any.
The indictment filed in federal court in Washington also accused both men of funneling tens of millions of dollars in payments through foreign companies and bank accounts.
There was no immediate comment from the White House.
Manafort joined Trump’s campaign team in March 2016, and was elevated to the role of campaign manager in June. He resigned amidst a scandal about his foreign consulting work.
The Clinton Campaign and the Democratic Party have alleged that the Russian interference had contributed in Trump’s electoral victory and the shocking defeat of Hillary Clinton.
Mueller is also investigating if Trump indulged in obstruction of justice.
A day earlier, Trump in a series of tweets said it is not a coincidence that news surrounding Mueller’s investigation was surfacing at the same time Republicans are pushing tax reform.
“All of this ‘Russia’ talk right when the Republicans are making their big push for historic Tax Cuts & Reform,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
“Is this coincidental? NOT!” he said.