Mueller, N.Y. Attorney General Joining Forces on Manafort Probe
Paul Manafort, senior advisor to presidential candidate Donald Trump, exits following a meeting of Donald Trump's national finance team at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York on June 9, 2016.Brendan McDermid / Reuters file
Breaking News Emails
Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
Investigators for Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the office of New York's Attorney General are coordinating their probes of former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort's finances.
A senior law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the matter confirms the cooperation, which was first reported by Politico. The official said coordination is not surprising given the common subject of the investigation and the desire for the two teams to coordinate their efforts.
In addition, the teams include two veterans of white collar crime and corruption prosecutions who have worked together before. Andrew Goldstein, who recently left the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan to work with Mueller's team, and Howard Master, who recently joined the AG's team from the same U.S. Attorney's office, shared an award for their joint prosecution of a municipal fraud and kickback case involving more than 150 foreign and domestic bank accounts.
The mortgage document that explains how Manafort would pay back the loan was never filed with Suffolk County, New York — and Manafort's company never paid up to $36,000 in taxes that would be due on the loan.
Several months later, Manafort took out a separate $6.5 million loan on the same property from a bank run by an economic adviser to the Trump campaign.
Manafort's spokesperson, Jason Maloni, did not respond to multiple calls for comment. In May, he told NBC News that the first Hamptons loan was only meant to serve as a bridge loan.
Federal investigators have subpoenaed records linked to the $3.5 million loan.
In a statement to NBC News about the New York City properties earlier this year, Manafort said he was "sorry to disappoint the conspiracy theorists," but the mortgages were ordinary business transactions and using LLCs to buy real estate is "common practice in New York City and elsewhere."
Manafort said his transactions were "executed in a transparent fashion and my identity was disclosed — in fact my name is right there on the documents in one of today's news reports."
Using LLCs is not unusual or illegal, but hefty loans on properties bought with cash can be a flag, experts say.
The U.S. Treasury Department said last year that "all-cash luxury purchases of residential property by a legal entity are highly vulnerable to abuse for money laundering."
Tom Winter is a New York-based correspondent covering crime, courts, terrorism, and financial fraud on the East Coast for the NBC News Investigative Unit.