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A search warrant application unsealed on Wednesday revealed closer links than previously known between Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, and a Russian oligarch with close ties to the Kremlin.
In an affidavit attached to the July 2017 application, an FBI agent said he had reviewed tax returns for a company controlled by Manafort and his wife that showed a $10 million loan from a Russian lender identified as Oleg Deripaska.
The application to search Manafort’s Virginia apartment was granted, providing key evidence for the indictments of Manafort as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign.
Mueller has been investigating the financial links between Manafort and Deripaska, a metals magnate who is known to be close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Deripaska was among the Russian oligarchs sanctioned by the United States in April.
A grand jury also has indicted Konstantin Kilimnik, a political operative who sometimes served as an intermediary between Manafort and Deripaska. In court filings, Mueller’s prosecutors have said Kilimnik has ties to Russian spy agencies, which Kilimnik denies.
The affidavit unsealed on Wednesday also disclosed that Deripaska had financially backed Manafort’s consulting work in Ukraine when it started in 2005-06, citing information from a source whose name was redacted, a sign that a former Manafort associate may have cooperated with the investigation.
On Tuesday, a federal judge in Virginia dealt a blow to Manafort by rejecting a motion to dismiss the case on the argument that Mueller did not have the mandate to prosecute him.
Manafort, who was Trump’s campaign manager during part of his 2016 presidential campaign, has been indicted in Washington and Virginia on charges including conspiring to launder money, bank and tax fraud and failing to register as a foreign agent for the pro-Russia Ukraine government.
Manafort has pleaded not guilty. His Virginia trial starts in July and his Washington trial is scheduled for September.