The Real Deal New York

Feds seize 4 of Manafort’s homes as part of plea deal with Mueller team

The former Trump campaign chair admitted to conspiracy charges
September 14, 2018 01:00PM

Paul Manafort (Credit: Getty Images)

Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, is surrendering four properties and money from several bank accounts as a part of a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller.

Manafort has agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation in exchange for reduced charges, according to the New York Times. As a part of the deal, he pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiracy and one charge of conspiracy to obstruct justice. Prosecutors dropped five other charges that included lobbying violations and money laundering.

He had said repeatedly that he would not cooperate with Mueller but reassessed his situation after his trial last month on separate charges. In that case, he was found guilty on eight counts of bank fraud, tax fraud and failure to report a foreign bank account.

During the trial, real estate was found to be one of the main ways Manafort made his deceptions. One such instance involved his Trump Tower condo, which he claimed as his primary residence. One of his associates, however, testified that Manafort was actually renting out the property.

Documents from the trial showed that Manafort said he had real estate interests worth $216 million. Most of those properties he co-owned with Jeffrey Yohai, his former son-in-law, through Baylor Holdings, LLC. Yohai, for his part, is in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings over four California properties owned by Baylor. He’s also being sued in New York for allegedly running a ponzi scheme.

The prosecution also claimed Manafort made bogus financial representations in order to obtain loans from banks. That included mortgages on the Trump Tower condo, as well as a townhome at 377 Union Street in Brooklyn and a condo at 29 Howard Street in Manhattan.

Manafort’s second trial on separate but related charges stemming from political consulting work he did in Ukraine was supposed to start next week.

The Real Deal interviewed Manafort’s real estate fixer Brad Zackson last summer, who said that the world was attacking his friend “for no reason.”  [NYT] – Eddie Small