Paul Manafort faces serious felony charges on alleged tax fraud, though the indictment unsealed against him and an associate on Monday does not appear at first glance to implicate the 2016 campaign of President Trump. The charges brought by special investigator Robert Mueller accuse Manafort of laundering about $18 million, reports the New York Times, which has a link to the actual indictment here. "Manafort used his hidden overseas wealth to enjoy a lavish lifestyle in the United States without paying taxes on that income," the indictment reads. Business associate Rick Gates also is implicated. "As part of the scheme, Manafort and Gates repeatedly provided false information to financial bookkeepers, tax accountants and legal counsel, among others," per the indictment. Manafort has long worked as a foreign lobbyist.
The 12-count indictment includes charges of conspiracy against the US, conspiracy to launder money, failing to register as a foreign agent, making false statements, and multiple counts of failing to file reports for foreign bank accounts, report the AP. "I don’t see anything related to the campaign," said NBC's Pete Williams, as quoted on Twitter. A post at Politico says that while that may be true, the charges "do show how Mueller is homing in on key figures in Trump’s orbit." The FBI raided Manafort's home over the summer, notes the Wall Street Journal, making eventual charges into his financial doings not completely surprising. Still, these are the first criminal charges to result in Mueller's wide-ranging investigation into Russian collusion in the 2016 campaign. He's also investigating whether Trump obstructed justice by firing James Comey. (Read more Paul Manafort stories.)