Donald Trumps campaign chairman spent almost a decade in Ukraine. His time here has raised many questions , not least in an ongoing corruption inquiry
Update, 10:20 am EDT: Paul Manafort has resigned as Donald Trumps campaign chairman
Paul Manafort, Donald Trumps campaign chairman, has only recently become familiar to Americans. But in Ukraine, Manafort has played a decisive role in politics for nearly a decade one “thats been” closely scrutinized after his name has appeared in documents that are being examined in a corruption investigation. That is why on Friday, I helped to make public more documents related to Manaforts dealings with the Party of Regions, which he used to consult for.
I recollect Manafort clearly during the inauguration of Victor Yanukovych, the former chairperson of Ukraine. On a cold February morning , men and women wearing tailcoats and evening gown hurried towards the Lenin monument. There was a little bit of commotion at the entryway Rinat Akhmetov, the richest Ukrainian man and the right arm of Yanukovych, was trying to make way for an inconspicuous American. It was merely me and a few of my colleagues who distinguished the mysterious strangers face: it was Paul Manafort.
Manafort had served as a consultant to the Party of Regions for many years. He had just as much cause for gala as the freshly inaugurated chairperson, since he was the mastermind behind the presidents victory. The two had worked together since 2004. After Yanukovychs election defeat that year, Manafort was hired by him and they worked on four electoral campaign( including one presidential and three parliamentary ones) together.
The American consultant was recommended to Yanukovych by his business and political partner Rinat Akhmetov, who in turn was recommended by Oleg Deripaska, his Russian colleague from the circle of fellow oligarchs. That way Manafort passed from one person to another as a relay baton to afterwards become one of the most influential players in the Ukrainian politics.
The question is now if he ever abused his position. So-called shadow accounting documents I have assured show $400,000 in cash payments were made to him, which were intended to be spent on conducting exit polls. The documents indicate a further $812,000 to be paid to him for engaging international observers. And, these documents, which I reported on and which were the focus of a New York Times article this week, list a total of $12.7 m of payments made to Manafort.
Ukrainians are concerned about the steal of public fund. We want the chain of corruption to end. That is why many are troubled that Manaforts name has emerged in this investigation.
It is not just these latest revelations that cast a shadow over Manaforts name in Ukraine. Manafort was an advisor to President Yanukovych when he sought a divisive electoral campaign, such as focusing on the alleged infringement of rights of the Russian-speaking population in Ukraine. This wasnt an issue before, but after years of driving this idea into the heads of voters, the question of the Russian speech has really become an important factor in Ukrainian politics.
Subsequently, after the escape of Yanukovych in 2014, it was under the guise of protecting the Russian population that Putin invaded Crimea, transgressing the post-war balance of power in Europe.
Manafort worked with Victor Yanukovych one of the most notorious European politicians for nearly 10 years. This is not a casual relationship between the client and the performer. Such long-term cooperation incorporates a general worldview and values. Now voters in America will have to ask themselves: are these values they want in their country?
Read more: www.theguardian.com