Just when you thought the Trump-Russia scandal couldn’t take any more twists and turns today, it has.
The New York Times is reporting this evening that a shell company, listed under former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort’s name, received $13 million in loans from at least two companies with ties to Donald Trump. Paul Manafort created the shell company on August 19th, 2016, the day he resigned his post as head of the Trump campaign. The loan money started trickling in a few weeks later.
According to the Times:
Papers were recorded that same day [as Manafort’s resignation] creating a shell company controlled by Mr. Manafort that soon received $13 million in loans from two businesses with ties to Mr. Trump, including one that partners with a Ukrainian-born billionaire and another led by a Trump economic adviser. They were among $20 million in loans secured by properties belonging to Mr. Manafort and his wife.
One of the loans in question, unknown until now, was received a month after Manafort’s August resignation from the Trump campaign, and it was for $3.5 million. The financial entity that made the loan was Spruce Capital, a boutique New York investment firm backed financially by Ukrainian billionaire Alexader Rovt and co-founded by Joshua Crane, a developer Donald Trump partnered with on multiple hotels and other properties. Crane is still listed as a Principal at Spruce Capital.
More from the New York Times:
The transactions raise a number of questions, including whether Mr. Manafort’s decision to turn to Trump-connected lenders was related to his role in the campaign, where he had agreed to serve for free.
It’s been a busy day in the news for investigations into the Trump campaign’s ties to shady Eastern European money. News broke earlier today that Manafort was expected to retroactively register as a foreign agent with the U.S. government.
This morning, in a related story, the AP reported that they’d linked deposits into Manafort’s firm’s bank account to a payment recorded in the now infamous “Black Ledger” belonging to associates of disgraced Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. Yanukovych was a puppet of Russian President Vladimir Putin before his people forced him from office, and Manafort was a political consultant of his for years.
It’s only Wednesday, but we’re betting this already has to qualify as the worst week in the former Trump campaign manager’s political career. If today’s news leads to charges against Manafort, then Donald Trump’s worst week might be closer than we think.
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Peter Mellado is a writer, producer, and a branding and messaging specialist with over 15 years experience. He studied history at San Jose State University, and resides in Los Angeles.