DOJ sues Paul Manafort for nearly $3 million in foreign bank accounts

JThe Justice Department is suing former President Donald Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort over allegedly undeclared foreign bank accounts.

The Justice Department is seeking more than $2.9 million from Manafort to cover fines and interest for his “willful failure to timely report his financial interests in foreign bank accounts” in calendar years 2013 and 2014 , according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court. for the Southern District of Florida.

Manafort, who was a political consultant at the time, is accused of failing to report consulting income from Ukrainian sources which was deposited in 22 accounts linked to him in Cyprus, the United Kingdom and St. and the Grenadines.

PAUL MANAFORT’S BOOK WILL BE PUBLISHED IN AUGUST

Although the accounts were not maintained in his name, they were opened or managed by people working on Manafort’s behalf, according to the lawsuit. Manafort gained access to the accounts in question and used them to pay for “personal expenses,” according to the filing.

Manafort hired an accountant to prepare his federal tax returns for the years in question, but the accountant did not declare his interest in the foreign accounts on his federal tax returns or in the Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts Report, according to the trial. Manafort was told of his inability to file his 2013 FBAR by the Treasury Department, according to the lawsuit.

Jeff Neiman, Manafort’s attorney, said his client had been trying “for months” to “resolve this civil matter.”

“Today’s civil lawsuit seeks a monetary judgment against Mr. Manafort for simply failing to file a tax form,” Neiman wrote in a statement Thursday. obtained by CNBC. “Nevertheless, the government insisted on filing this complaint simply to embarrass Mr. Manafort.”

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In 2019, Manafort was sentenced to 47 months in prison for fraud and tax charges, including one count of concealing foreign bank accounts. He was later pardoned by the Trump administration, which cited “a gross excess of prosecutions” in the Manafort case, in December 2020.

Shawanda H. Saldana