US elections: Expert Analysis: Ukraine strongly concerned of possible Russia's hand in US politics
Oleh Belokolos Oleh Belokolos Ukrainian foreign affairs expert

14:38 Aug. 27, 2016

Expert Analysis: Ukraine strongly concerned of possible Russia's hand in US politics

Donald Trump, flanked by now former campaign manager Paul Manafort (GettyImages Photo)

Ukrainian political expert Oleh Belokolos on Paul Manafort and his alleged ties to ousted President Yanukovych, who is hiding in Russia

American political consultant Paul Manafort is getting quite a lot of attention as of late. He previously worked as an adviser on the presidential campaign of Ukrainian ousted leader Yanukovych, who was considered to be controlled by Vladimir Putin during his Presidency in Ukraine.

Read also: Expert analysis: Minsk agreements ‘null and void' – US must step in

After leaving Kyiv, Manafort joined the camp of the Republican scandalous nominee for the US President, Donald Trump. However, Trump, known for his numerous pro-Russian statements, had to accept Manafort's resignation after information emerged in Western media, naming the consultant ‘Secret Ledger' of Party of Regions, Yanukovych's political party.

An Associated Press article tied Manafort to undisclosed foreign lobbying, saying he secretly routed at least USD 2.2 million to ‘two prominent Washington lobbying firms in 2012 on behalf of Ukrainian governing party', which was the Party of Regions.

The concealed payments obscured the fact that a foreign political party tried to influence US policy.

‘Under federal law, U.S. lobbyists must declare publicly if they represent foreign leaders or their political parties and provide detailed reports about their actions to the Justice Department. A violation is a felony and can result in up to five years in prison and a fine of up to USD 250,000', the AP article read.

Read also: Expert Analysis on Erdogan's Endgame: Meeting Biden after ‘dear friend' Putin

After Ukrainian Anti-Corruption Bureau claimed Manafort could have received USD 12.7 million from Party of Regions in 2007-2012, FBI started a criminal investigation into the consultant's possible ties to alleged corruption of former President Yanukovych, according to CNN.

The news triggered concerns in Ukraine, which is expecting to hear more names of Ukrainian politicians, linked to Yanukovych's corrupt regime.

‘We consider the US as our closest and friendliest ally in combatting Russian aggression. In light of Crimea occupation and aggression of the Russian Federation in Eastern Ukraine, people here are very much surprised there are some people in the United States like Trump who praised Putin as a strong leader and even would like to build relations based on mutual respect, so this is the biggest interest in Ukraine', Ukrainian political expert Oleh Belokolos said.

Watch the full version of the interview on Ukraine Today

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