Manafort spent millions on homes, rugs, clothes: Court filing

US President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort leaves the US District Court after a hearing in the first charges stemming from a special counsel investigation of possible Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election in Washin
US President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort leaves the US District Court after a hearing in the first charges stemming from a special counsel investigation of possible Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election in Washington, US on Oct 30, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Paul Manafort, the indicted former campaign manager for President Donald Trump, spent almost US$1 million (S$1.4 million) on eight rugs in two years and more than US$1.3 million on clothes from shops in Beverly Hills, California, and New York City.

His lavish lifestyle - with homes in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Hamptons, Arlington, Virginia and elsewhere - were detailed in an indictment filed with the US District Court for the District of Columbia that was revealed on Monday (Oct 30).

Prosecutors said they found payments by Manafort for four Range Rovers and a Mercedes-Benz among transactions that they alleged came illegally from overseas to avoid paying US income taxes, according to the 31-page court filing.

Prosecutors said they found evidence he bought a condo in a restored red-brick building in New York's upscale Soho neighborhood for US$2.85 million, also from overseas money, most often Cyprus.

Manafort and associate Rick Gates pleaded not guilty on Monday to money laundering and other charges filed in a probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Manafort's attorney, Kevin Downing, said on Monday there was no evidence that his client colluded with the Russian government while working for the Trump campaign.

 

Neither Trump nor his campaign was mentioned in the indictment against Manafort and Gates.

Manafort ran the Trump campaign from June to August of 2016 before resigning amid reports he might have received millions of dollars in illegal payments from a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.

The indictment said both Manafort and Gates generated tens of millions of dollars of income from Ukraine work and laundered money through scores of US and foreign entities to hide payments from American authorities.

Filed by Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the indictment said Manafort "used his hidden overseas wealth to enjoy a lavish lifestyle in the United States."

The indictment said he spent US$849,215 in a men's clothing store in New York and US$520,440 at one in Beverly Hills.

He spent US$5,434,793 on a house in Water Mill, New York, in Long Island's Hamptons, shelling out US$820,240 for landscaping. Aerial photos of the place show gardens, a pool, a tennis court, a basketball court and a putting green and sand trap on 2.37 acres (0.96 hectare).

A seven-bedroom Brooklyn brownstone, which he bought for US$3 million, was described in a real estate agent's listing as"dripping with detail - perfectly intact crown moldings and medallions, gold leafed carved window detail, 5 marble mantels, and original Lincrusta paper wall covering."