WASHINGTON — Special counsel Robert Mueller filed a barrage of new criminal charges on Thursday against two of President Trump's former campaign aides, accusing them of lying to banks to obtain millions of dollars in loans.
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates already faced charges over their work for a pro-Russian political faction in Ukraine. In a new indictment revealed on Thursday, prosecutors also charged the men with tax fraud, bank fraud and failing to report overseas bank accounts, which they used to hide millions of dollars in income from U.S. authorities while paying for expensive cars and homes.
The spate of new charges, filed in federal court in Virginia, could intensify the legal pressure on both Manafort and Gates, who have emerged as central figures in Mueller's probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Prosecutors charged that Manafort and Gates funneled millions of dollars in income from their work in Ukraine into foreign bank accounts, which they then concealed from U.S. tax authorities. Instead, prosecutors said, Manafort "used his hidden overseas wealth to enjoy a lavish lifestyle in the United States, without paying taxes on that income."
They said more than $75 million passed through the men's offshore bank accounts, and that they laundered more than $30 million of income to conceal it from the U.S. government.
Prosecutors also said Manafort and Gates obtained more than $20 million in loans by lying about their business income and debts. In one case, they said, the two doctored a financial record to suggest that their consulting business was still making money. In another, prosecutors said Manafort encouraged his son-in-law to falsely tell an appraiser that he lived in one of Manafort's investment properties.
The new charges make no reference to Manafort or Gates's work on the Trump campaign, but the indictment alleges that the frauds occurred during their time with the campaign and continued until January 2017.
Jason Maloni, a spokesman for Manafort, said the former Trump campaign chairman is "innocent of the allegations . . . and he is confident that he will be acquitted of all charges."
"The new allegations against Mr. Manafort, once again, have nothing to do with Russia and 2016 election interference-collusion," Maloni said. "Mr. Manafort is confident that he will be acquitted and violations of his constitutional rights will be remedied."
One of Gates's lawyers declined to comment on Thursday, citing a gag order issued by a federal judge in Washington.
Gates's lawyers had previously asked a federal judge in Washington for permission to withdraw from the criminal case there, citing "irreconcilable differences."