The Slatest

FBI Scrutinizing “Suspicious” Wire Transfers Linked to Trump’s Former Campaign Chief Manafort

Paul Manafort is interviewed on the floor of the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena on July 17, 2016, in Cleveland.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

Federal investigators are analyzing with particular interest a set of “suspicious” wire transfers that are tied to President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, BuzzFeed revealed on Sunday. The transfers involved more than $3 million, most of which ended up in the United States. The approximately 13 transfers took place between 2012 and 2013 and immediately raised eyebrows, amid suspicions that Manafort may have hidden money from authorities for tax reasons or helped the Ukrainian regime launder money.

The transfers were apparently flagged as suspicious by U.S. financial institutions that pointed to “unusual behavior” by offshore companies that allegedly have ties to Manafort. One of the things that raised supicions was that none of the companies explained what the money was to be used for, and the transactions originated in countries known for money laundering. That obviously does not prove any wrongdoing in itself, and the investigation apparently “lay dormant” for a while. But there were so many suspicious transactions that agents drafted “intelligence reports” about Manafort’s financial activity.

News of the investigation into the wire transfers come as Washington nervously waits for Monday, when the first indictments in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian meddling in the election could be issued. Manafort—who led Trump’s campaign for only three months in 2016 before he was forced to resign—didn’t comment on the suspicious wire transfers, but he has denied any wrongdoing in the past. Manafort has reportedly been one of the key players in Mueller’s investigation, and federal agents raided his Virginia home in July.