- George Bennett Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Paul Manafort, the Palm Beach Gardens resident and former Donald Trump campaign chairman indicted Monday, used seven Florida businesses as part of a scheme to hide payments from Ukraine between 2006 and 2016, special counsel Robert Mueller charged in a 12-count federal complaint.
Manafort and associate Rick Gates, who was also named in Mueller’s indictment, entered not guilty pleas on Monday afternoon in federal court in Washington.
Manafort, who also has residences in Virginia and New York, paid $1.5 million for a 5,231-square-foot home in BallenIsles Country Club in Palm Beach Gardens in 2007. Manafort got a homestead exemption on the property in 2011 and registered to vote in Palm Beach County that year. He voted in Florida’s March 2016 presidential primary at BallenIsles and cast his general election ballot at one of Palm Beach County’s early voting sites, according to elections records.
Mueller’s indictment covers activities before Manafort’s involvement in the Trump campaign and does not mention Trump or the issue that led to Mueller’s appointment, Russian interference in the 2016 election.
“Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????” Trump tweeted on Monday morning. “….Also, there is NO COLLUSION!”
The 31-page charging document says Manafort and Gates “generated tens of millions of dollars in income” by acting as unregistered agents of the Ukrainian government and two Ukrainian political parties between 2006 and 2015. Manafort and Gates then “laundered the money through scores of United States and foreign corporations, partnerships and bank accounts,” the indictment says.
The indictment alleges that 17 domestic entities controlled by Manafort or Gates were used in the scheme to launder the money. Seven of those businesses were incorporated in Florida:
• Daisy Manafort LLC, which in Florida Division of Corporations records lists Manafort as a manager and his Palm Beach Gardens home as its mailing address.
• DMP, which according to the indictment was incorporated in Virgninia in March 2005 and Florida in March 2011. Florida records don’t list a DMP matching the one in the indictment, but show a Davis Manafort Partners Inc., inactive since 2013, with a Virginia business address that lists Manafort as its president and director.
• DMI, incorporated in Delaware in June 2011 and Florida in March 2012, according to the indictment. Florida records show a DMP International incorporated in March 2012 with a Delaware address and Manafort listed as manager.
• Jesand Investments Corporation, incorporated in March 2011 and inactive since 2013. Manafort was listed as president.
• John Hannah, LLC, incorporated in Virginia in April 2006 and Florida in March 2011. Manafort is listed as manager and his home as the business address in Florida records.
• Lilred, LLC, incorporated in Florida in December 2011. The business lists a New Jersey address and Manafort as manager.
• MC Soho Holdings, LLC, incorporated in Florida in January 2012 and in New York in April 2012. Manafort is listed as manager in Florida records and his home is listed as the principal address of the business.
Manafort and Gates used more than $12 million worth of wire transfers from offshore accounts to buy goods, services and real estate but did not report the transfers as income, the indictment says.
The money was paid to 19 vendors, the indictment says, including three from Florida:
• “Vendor B,” described in the indictment as a “home automation, lighting and home entertainment company in Florida,” received $1.3 million in wire transfers from 2011 to 2013 from accounts in Cyprus, the United Kingdom and the Grenadines.
• “Vendor J,” described as a contractor in Florida, received transfers totaling $432,487 from 2011 to 2013 from accounts in Cyprus, the indictment says.
• “Vendor R,” an art gallery in Florida, received wire transfers from Cyprus in 2011 and 2013 totaling $31,900, the indictment says.
Staff writer Christine Stapleton contributed to this story.