Well, the big news this week is that President Donald Trump’s one-time campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, was indicted on charges that he illegally funneled more than $18 millions “through overseas shell companies and used the money to buy luxury cars, real estate, antiques and expensive suits,” in the words of the New York Times. The newspaper said that the indictments don’t mention Trump or election meddling but instead describe “in granular detail Mr. Manafort’s lobbying work in Ukraine and what prosecutors said was a scheme to hide that money from tax collectors and the public.”
Manafort alleges that he is the victim of a political witch hunt — and I’m somewhat sympathetic to his argument, as I wrote about yesterday. The problem for Manafort is that even if he is in fact being targeted for political reasons — to get Trump — he’s still going to go to prison if he is found guilty of the crimes he is charged with (unless he flips and cuts a deal).
I’ve just now had a very interesting conversation with Monte Friesner, a convicted fraudster, former money launderer, and one time CIA contractor. Monte served his time but now he — along with Kenneth Rijock, another source of mine and also a former money launderer-turned-financial crime consultant who has testified three times before Congress — helps banks and law enforcement perform enhanced due diligence on clients and suspected criminals.
Monte and Ken have been tracking Manafort for some time, through classic investigative techniques and the use of EDDI-IQ, an enhanced due diligence database they use in their work advising banks and law enforcement. Take a look at the photograph that accompanies this story; it’s a screenshot of the first page of the EDDI-IQ report on Manafort, which Monte graciously shared with me.
It shows that Manfort is considered by EDDI-IQ to be a Politically Exposed Person (PEP). It also shows that he is specifically considered to be politically exposed because he is an “Associate of Donald John Trump, President of the United States.” The report’s first page provides some information about Manafort’s business practices that further explain why EDDI-IQ deems him to be a PEP. Monte told me that he obtained additional information about Manafort through well-informed associates in Cyprus and Ukraine.
What this all means is that EDDI-IQ and Monte deem Manafort to be too hot to handle for global financial institutions. If Manafort or one of his associates or bagmen want to deposit money in a bank, the bank would be well advised to turn that money away or they run a risk of being busted for taking in dirty cash. Furthermore, a company with which Manafort wants to do business, say as a partner or investor, would be equally well advised to turn down such a relationship because they run a higher-than-usual risk of being prosecuted for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
“This guy is not merely the victim of a witch hunt,” Monte, who likes to say that “It takes a money launderer to catch a money launderer,” told me. “He laundered money in a stupid way.” Meanwhile, check out this story at Wanted SA, a website with which Monte is affiliated, for more on Manafort.