Justice Department sues Paul Manafort for nearly $3 million over alleged undeclared foreign income

Justice Department sues former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort nearly $3 million for allegedly failing to declare his financial interests in foreign bank accounts between 2013 and 2014.

The lawsuit claims that Manafort failed to complete the conventional “FBAR” reports required for all foreign bank balances over $10,000 per year, and his tax returns did not reflect the existence of the offshore accounts at Cyprus, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and the United Kingdom. The source of the undeclared income, according to the lawsuit, was Manafort’s consultancy work in Ukraine with known associates Richard Gates and Konstantin Kilimnik.

“He owes the United States $2,321,797 for the deliberate FBAR fine for 2013, plus interest and non-payment of the fine,” according to documents filed in federal court in Florida. Additionally, the documents allege he owes $300,000 for the FBAR voluntary penalty for 2014, plus interest and a penalty for default, for a total of $2,976,350.15.

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Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort arrives at the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse for a hearing on June 15, 2018 in Washington, DC.

According to court documents, a delegate from the Secretary of the Treasury fined Manafort for “deliberate failure” to pay the 2013 and 2014 FBARs in May 2020. On July 23, 2020, a delegate from the Secretary of the Treasury sent Manafort a notice assessment of the 2013 and 2014 FBAR penalties requested, according to court documents.

Manafort’s attorney, Jeffrey Neiman, said in a statement that “the civil lawsuit seeks a monetary judgment against Mr. Manafort for simply failing to complete a tax form.”

“Mr. Manafort knew the government was going to sue because he tried for months to resolve this civil case,” Neiman said. “Nevertheless, the government insisted on filing this complaint simply to embarrass Mr. Manafort.”

Manafort was found guilty of several financial crimes including tax and banking fraud and obstruction in 2018. He was later sentenced by two separate judges to more than seven years in prison, but the former President Donald Trump has forgiven him in December 2020.

Before the 2016 presidential election, Manafort served as Trump campaign chairman before eventually finding himself in the crosshairs of former special counsel Robert Mueller, whose office sued 2018 charges.

Despite Trump’s pardon, Thursday’s lawsuit argued that Manafort still owed the US government for alleged financial wrongdoing.

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