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DOJ sues former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort over offshore accounts

The lawsuit alleges Manafort failed to report interest in foreign accounts in 2013 and 2014.
U.S. District Court Judge Hears Motions To Suppress Evidence In USA v Manafort
Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort arrives for a federal court hearing in Washington, D.C., on May 23, 2018.Mark Wilson / Getty Images file

The Justice Department is suing former President Donald Trump's onetime campaign chairman Paul Manafort over allegations he failed to report interest in foreign bank accounts.

The Justice Department is seeking $2.9 million from Manafort, accusing him of failing to report consulting income from Ukrainian sources that was deposited into accounts he is alleged to have directed to be opened in Cyprus, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the United Kingdom.

According to a civil lawsuit filed Thursday in West Palm Beach, Florida, Manafort conducted consulting work in Ukraine from 2006 to 2014.

The lawsuit alleges that Manafort, who hired an accountant to prepare his federal tax returns, did not report his interest in foreign accounts on his federal income tax returns or through a timely filed Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, known as "FBAR," for 2013 and 2014.

Many of the accounts were opened on his behalf, using nominee shell corporations opened or operated by others without Manafort’s name, the lawsuit claims.

The Treasury Department previously sent Manafort a notice about the penalties in July 2020, the lawsuit says.

Manafort, who was sentenced to 47 months in prison on fraud and tax charges in March 2019, was given a full pardon by then-President Donald Trump in December 2020.

The Trump White House alleged “prosecutorial overreach” in Manafort’s case when he was pardoned.

Manafort's lawyer, Jeffrey Neiman, said in a statement Thursday that the Justice Department had sought to "embarrass" his client.

"Today’s civil lawsuit seeks a money judgment against Mr. Manafort for simply failing to file a tax form," Neiman wrote in a statement. "Mr. Manafort was aware the Government was going to file the suit because he has tried for months to resolve this civil matter. Nonetheless, the Government insisted on filing this suit simply to embarrass Mr. Manafort."