Trump aide 'tried to hide' Russian payment

Paul Manafort denies receiving $750,000 from pro-Russia Party of Regions

Donald Trump
(Image credit: Andrew Caballero/Getty)

Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort has been accused of trying to hide a $750,000 (£600,000) payment he received from a pro-Russia party in 2009.

Ukrainian lawmaker Serhiy Leshchenko, "a former investigative journalist, published an invoice purportedly signed by Mr Manafort that showed a $750,000 payment for a shipment of computers to a firm called Davis Manafort", the BBC reports.

At the time, Manafort was an adviser to former Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych and his Russian-backed Party of Regions. He denies receiving any cash payments.

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Leshchenko claimed the amount and the date of the payment matches an entry in the so-called "black ledgers" - handwritten accounting books said to belong to Yanukovych's party - where Manafort's name is mentioned.

He also alleged the contract was a cover for payments for Manfort's consulting services to the Party of Regions, which was ousted after a public uprising in 2014.

Manafort's spokesman told CNN the lobbyist "did not recognise the document and that the signature was not his".

Ukrainian human rights lawyer Eugenia Zakrevska has also called on Manafort to explain the contents of text messages reportedly hacked from his daughter Andrea's phone, Business Insider reports.

The messages are said to contain conversations between Andrea Manafort and her sister, Jessica. In them, Andrea Manafort allegedly says their father has "no moral or legal compass".

"You know he has killed people in Ukraine? Knowingly," she reportedly asked. "As a tactic to outrage the world and get focus on Ukraine. Remember when there were all those deaths taking place. A while back. About a year ago. Revolts and what not.

"Do you know whose strategy that was to cause that, to send those people out and get them slaughtered?"

Trump's former aide is just one of a number of the President's associates currently under scrutiny for possible contacts with Russia during the election campaign last year. An FBI investigation is ongoing.

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