President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, hid more than $18 million in several overseas shell companies as part of a complex scheme to avoid tax collectors, according to a federal indictment unsealed on Monday. Turns out he had a thing for nice cars too.
Manafort used the money in part to acquire a variety of luxury goods, including four Range Rovers and a Mercedes Benz, the government alleged.
Manafort’s longtime associate, Rick Gates, was also indicted as part of the alleged scheme. A separate, unsealed indictment revealed that former Trump campaign adviser, George Papadopoulous, pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I. about his connections to an unnamed Russian professor, after being arrested earlier this summer.
The charges represent the first brought by special counsel Robert S. Mueller, who was appointed in May to investigate whether Trump’s campaign assisted an effort by the Russian government to influence the 2016 presidential election.
The indictment against Papadopoulous explicitly ties into the Russia investigation, but the charges against Manafort and Gates do not.
They do, however, lay out in fine detail a long-running alleged scheme by Manafort and Gates to launder more than $18 million into a number of shell companies that, according to the indictment, allowed them to avoid paying taxes on the income.
“Manafort, without reporting the income to his tax preparer of the United States, spent millions of dollars on luxury goods and services for himself and his extended family through payments wired from offshore nominee accounts to United States vendors,” the indictment reads.
Those goods include payments on three Range Rovers acquired in 2012 from an unnamed “Vendor L” for $163,705, and another back in 2008 from an unnamed “Vendor P.” It’s hard to discern what exact models were purchased:
And in the fall of 2012, the indictment says, Manafort purchased a Mercedes Benz for $62,750 from an unnamed “Vendor O.”
The indictment does not specify which model of Mercedes was purchased.
Manafort and Gates surrendered to the F.B.I. early Monday, reports The New York Times. The money laundering charge carries a potential prison sentence of up to 20 years. You can read the full indictment below.