Why Ukraine considers Manafort to be innocent like a baby

Author : Mykyta Sinitsyn

In 2016, Ukraine’s Anti-Corruption Bureau has stated that American official could receive $ 12.7 million from Yanukovych's party, but now it considers these charges groundless
20:43, 29 June 2017

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Perhaps, one of the strongest (since 2014) fiascos of the Ukrainian authorities in the international arena is the wrong bet on the US presidential election in 2016. And this was not just a matter of publicly expressing support for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, endless articles and blogs in the media with hints and accusations that Trump is “not ours,” but “his” (Putin's).

The story began in May 2016, when the financial accountability documents of the Party of Regions (PR), former ruling party, became the property of the press. In the course of their joint briefing, the editor-in-chief of the Ukrayinska Pravda newspaper Sevgil Musayeva and the ex-journalist of the publication, now People's Deputy of Ukraine Serhiy Leshchenko, told about the expenses of the "black box office" of political forces from June 6 to December 6, 2012.

Related: Belize authorities investigates money laundering by Yanukovych and Manafort

In parallel, another version of PR “secret ledgers” was handed over to the National Anti-Corruption Bureau by ex-first deputy head of the Security Service Viktor Trepak. This variant was more complete and embraced a period of several years. Among many different names, there were not only Ukrainian ones, but also the names of foreigners. It included the name of American political technologist Paul Manafort, head of the election headquarters of Donald Trump.

In August 2016, the world-famous The New York Times has published an article (with the reference to Ukraine’s Anti-Corruption Bureau - NABU), which said that Manafort could receive $ 12.7 million from the Party of Regions for the period from 2007 to 2012. This leak was officially confirmed by NABU. It stated that the name of the political technologist was 22 times mentioned in 19 documents and published photocopies of confirmation. However, they left a loophole, saying that Manafort's signature does not mean that he received this money, and the investigation continues.

Related: Financial statements confirmed that Manafort received $1.2 million from Party of Regions, — AP

The person involved in the investigation denied these accusations, calling them "unreasonable, stupid, and meaningless." However, American media was already unstoppable - they wrote and wrote, they came out on Russian oligarchs and Manafort’s connection with Russia. Trump surrendered and parted with his political technologist. So Ukraine became the weapon of democrats against the elections competitor.

Probably, Bankova was really shocked after announcement of the result of the voting in the United States and the clarity that demonized Trump became the new president of Ukraine's strategic ally. It was necessary to do something. And two days later, November 11, there was information that the head of the NABU, Artem Sytnyk, hastened to deny accusations against Manafort.

The head of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office Nazar Kholodnytsky has shown slightly less wittyness. November 19, he said that his department did not have any evidence of the involvement of the American political technologist in corruption in Ukraine.

Related: Russian oligarch ready to tell US Congress about his ties with Manafort

"All the signatures are more or less alike, but we cannot say for sure who signed it. There is simply a signature. Today, there are no grounds for declaring suspicion, especially of Manafort," Kholodnitsky said.

What a "magic" explanation. That is, no one was embarrassed that all the signatures were made presumably by one hand? For some reason, it did not stop to say that Manafort's surname appeared in “secret ledgers” of the PR, which immediately casted a shadow of suspicion on him.

Or the answer is even simpler: it was necessary to give solidity to the corruption article of the head of Trump’s election headquarters. I think, it is obvious, who and why might need it. In general, just a few days after Trump's victory, Manafort's signature on documents for receiving $ 12.7 million had turned into the signature of "unknown person."

Related: Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine seeks permission from US to question Manafort in corruption case, — CNN

After that, the anti-corruption agencies seemed to take a vow of silence about the investigation of the Manafort case.

However, journalists continued their struggle, including the initiator of this publication, People's Deputy of Ukraine Serhiy Leshchenko. In February 2017, he was accused of attempting to blackmail Paul Manafort through his daughter Jess, threatening to publish evidence that Manafort was receiving funds from Ukraine’s Party of Regions. Then the People's Deputy called this accusation fake, as well as screenshots of correspondence by e-mail.

Related: Manafort could be involved in murders of Heavenly Hundred, - daughter

It is interesting that a month later Leshchenko has publish documents according to which money for consultations to Manafort in the amount of $ 750,000 was transferred through shell companies under the guise of computer equipment supplies.

In April-May, Bloomberg and the Associated Press reported on available evidence of cash received by Paul Manafort in 2007-2009 for $ 1.2 million and more than 1 million in 2014. However, these statements did not cause any special excitement. And already on June 27, exactly a week after the historic and incredibly successful (according to the guarantor) meeting between Peter Poroshenko and Donald Trump, the head of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office Nazar Kholodnytsky told ZIK agency that Specialized Anti-corruption Procurator has no claims to Manafort.

Amazing was the meeting with Trump in the White House, after which yesterday's "recipient" almost 13 million dollars becomes innocent like a baby.

Related: Manafort claimed that “shadow accounting” documents are fake

Now it remains to wait another week, until the head of NABU Artem Sytnyk “ripens” to the same statement. Also, it is necessary to find a "scapegoat". Why should not it be Leshchenko? After all, it was he who published the “secret ledgers” of the Party of Regions, he was accused of blackmailing Manafort. And this people's deputy is actually the only one who continues to insist on the guilt of the American political technologist. But the Ukrainian authorities do not need this anymore, it is even harmful. Especially since the authorities' relations with "Europessimist" Leshchenko have deteriorated long time ago. But here is an option to kill two birds with one stone - to kick away uncomfortable people's deputy, and once again sweeten the strategic ally. It is politics.

Related: Novinsky confirmed that Manafort worked with Opposition Bloc

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