March 20, 2017 – Ukrainian official Serhiy Leshchenko releases documents alleging Manafort tried to hide his “black ledger” payments

In Email/Dossier/Govt Corruption Investigations, Jeff Carlson by Katie Weddington

Trump and Manafort at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on July 21, 2016 [Credit: Rick Wilking/Reuters]

Manafort’s work in Ukraine was highlighted  in late July, and on Aug. 14, 2016, The New York Times reported that payments to Manafort had been uncovered from the Party of Regents’ black box:

“Handwritten ledgers show $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Mr. Manafort from Mr. Yanukovych’s pro-Russian political party from 2007 to 2012, according to Ukraine’s newly formed National Anti-Corruption Bureau. Investigators assert that the disbursements were part of an illegal off-the-books system whose recipients also included election officials.”

Manafort’s name was reportedly listed in the 400-page ledger 22 times, although his actual signature wasn’t authenticated and any payments made to him remain unverified. The documents implicating Manafort had been released by Serhiy Leshchenko.

On March 20, 2017, Leshchenko released another set of documents, this time alleging to show that Manafort took steps to hide payments related to his work for former Ukrainian President Viktor F. Yanukovych. Leshchenko’s documents “included an invoice that appeared to show $750,000 funneled through an offshore account and disguised as payment for computers.”

In a strange twist, it was reported by Politico in late February 2017 that a hack of the phone belonging to one of Manafort’s daughters revealed a text containing a blackmail threat that Manafort has attributed to Leshchenko. It’s not known with any certainty who actually sent the text, which contains an attachment that references “the Yanukovych accounting book” and lists an email address for Leshchenko.

Leshchenko became the subject of an investigation in Ukraine and in December 2018, a Kyiv court ruled that Leshchenko, along with NABU Director Artem Sytnyk “acted illegally when they revealed that Manafort’s surname and signature were found in the so-called “black ledger” of ousted President Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions,” the Kyiv Post reported on Dec. 12, 2018.

The court noted the material was part of a pre-trial investigation and its release “led to interference in the electoral processes of the United States in 2016 and harmed the interests of Ukraine as a state.”

The Hill recently reported that Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko stated that he was opening “a probe into alleged attempts by Ukrainians to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.” Surprisingly, the report, which focuses on Sytnyk, makes no mention of Leshchenko—or of the December court ruling which determined that both Leshchenko and Sytnyk violated Ukrainian law.” (Read more: themarketswork, 4/11/2019)  (Archive)