Paul Manafort Paid for Lavish Clothes, Real Estate With Foreign Funds: Prosecutors

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort paid for real estate, house renovations, expensive clothing, and cars using international wire transfers or foreign shell companies, witnesses told jurors in the second day of Manafort’s trial in Alexandria, Virginia. CNN reports that Manafort’s friend Wayne Holland testified that he helped Manafort make a real estate deal and was told Manafort paid through a company called Lucicle Consultants Limited, which prosecutors claim is a shell company based in Cyprus. Manafort also told a boutique store manager that he would be paying for his custom-made apparel through a company called Leviathan, another alleged shell company. He paid for over $740,000 in men’s clothing, home renovations, and a 2013 Mercedes-Benz through off-shore wire transfers, as well, witnesses testified. At one point, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III insisted that prosecutors not make their case all about Manafort’s expensive lifestyle. “All this document shows is that Mr. Manafort had a lavish lifestyle,” Ellis told a prosecutor at one point. “It isn’t relevant.” Prosecutors said that Rick Gates—who worked with Manafort and is considered a key witness—may or may not testify in the proceedings, as Judge Ellis expressed a desire to “move [the case] along.” This comes as prosecutors have charged Manafort with bank fraud and tax crimes, and as he soon faces money-laundering conspiracy charges in a separate case.