The indictment of Paul Manafort last month revealed that the former Trump campaign chairman placed $5.4 million in wire transfers to a Hamptons home renovation company. But why — what could that company have really done to Manafort’s Bridgehampton home and other properties that would necessitate such an enormous sum?
It’s raising questions about where all that money really ended up.
A Bloomberg investigation likely identified the company referred to as “Vendor A” in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s court filings as SP & C Home Improvement, which has performed work on Manafort’s Hamptons and Brooklyn homes. Permits obtained by Bloomberg show the estimated cost of work for the Hamptons home was only $687,000, while renovations at the Brooklyn townhouse at 377 Union Street were estimated to be just $528,000.
In all, that’s more than $4 million below what Manafort paid “Vendor A,” according to indictment papers. A pattern also emerged across all of Manafort’s allegedly tainted payments: the numbers always end perfectly with a zero (i.e. $6,500, $75,000 or $375,000), which is common in money laundering, experts told Bloomberg.
“[I]t would be surprising if all payments for materials ended in round-dollar figures,” said Ross Delston, a Washington attorney with experience in money laundering litigation.
The report identified similar discrepancies at Manafort’s home in Florida, but noted permit records cannot be considered perfect accounts of the final cost of improvements.
Manafort was accused of lying to federal authorities about his political consulting work in Ukraine, as well as hiding offshore accounts and laundering millions of dollars. State and local authorities are also investigating Manafort’s real estate transactions. Several of his real estate assets are subject to forfeiture upon conviction.
[Bloomberg] — Will Parker