While he was still serving as Donald Trump's campaign chairman, Paul Manafort sent an email to a Kiev-based employee of his consulting business requesting he tell a Russian billionaire with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin that if he wanted "private briefings" on the presidential race, Manafort would set it up, several people familiar with the emails told The Washington Post.
Emails on the subject are part of the tens of thousands of documents now in the possession of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team. The emails are very vague, and no exact name is ever used, but investigators believe they are referring to Oleg Deripaska, an aluminum magnate and one of the richest men in Russia. There is no evidence Deripaska ever received the message or any briefings, but investigators think this shows Manafort was ready to use his proximity to Trump for his own benefit, several people told the Post.
The Wall Street Journal reports that it has been difficult for Deripaska to get visas to come to the U.S. because he might have ties to organized crime in Russia, something Deripaska denies. Deripaska has paid Manafort as an investment consultant, and in 2014 took him to court in the Cayman Islands, accusing Manafort of taking nearly $19 million in money set aside for investments and being unable to tell him what he did with the money or where it is. Read more about Manafort and Deripaska's relationship at The Washington Post.