Shady dealings with a Soho condo and a Brooklyn brownstone are at the center of a multiple-count indictment issued Monday against Paul Manafort, who served briefly as Donald Trump’s campaign manager in 2016, Curbed reports. The indictment is the result of special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in last year’s presidential election. Also charged was Manafort aide Richard Gates. Both men entered pleas of not guilty.
The charges against them include “conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, seven separate counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts, serving as an unregistered agent of a foreign principal, making false and misleading statements under the Foreign Agent Registration Act, and making false statements to federal investigators.”
The money laundering charges are tied to real estate that Manafort owns in New York City, specifically a condo on Howard Street in Soho and a brownstone in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, both of which were bought in all-cash transactions through a shell corporation based in Cyprus.
According to the indictment, Manafort claimed that the Howard Street apartment was a secondary residence for his daughter and son-in-law, when in fact, he was renting it out on Airbnb, “among other places.” He falsely represented it as a residence to a bank in order to receive a mortgage of approximately $3.185 million, which would have been lower had he disclosed that it was being used to generate income. It’s illegal to rent an apartment on Airbnb for fewer than 30 days if the owner is not also present in the space.
Manafort purchased the Brooklyn brownstone for approximately $3 million in 2012, and sought a $5 million construction loan in order to convert the onetime apartment building into a single-family home. However, according to the indictment, he did not use the funds from that loan for repairs to the brownstone; instead, he used them to pay off debts on other properties, a violation of the terms of the loan.
To be continued.
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