Mueller moves for forfeiture order to seize Manafort assets
Attorneys for special counsel Robert Mueller moved on Friday for an order to seize assets that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort purchased with funds he hid from U.S. authorities in foreign bank accounts.
Mueller’s attorneys submitted a court document as part of Manafort’s plea agreement asking Judge Amy Berman Jackson to grant a request to seize five properties in New York owned by Manafort as well as a life insurance policy and three bank accounts.
Forfeiture of the assets identified as part of Manafort’s scheme to hide millions of dollars made lobbying for pro-Russia parties in Ukraine was agreed upon in a plea agreement Manafort signed with Mueller’s team last month.
Manafort signed the deal and agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s team to avoid a second trial in Washington, D.C., after a jury found him guilty on eight counts in a separate trial in northern Virginia in August.
“[T]he defendant admitted to the forfeiture allegations in the Information and agreed that the following property constitutes or is derived from proceeds traceable to the offense alleged in Count One,” the court document states, while noting that two of the New York properties were substitutes for assets unable to be seized by the government.
The filing by Mueller’s attorneys adds that any person claiming a legal interest other than Manafort in the properties or seized assets would have 30 days to petition the court to assert their legal stake in the assets once the order is approved.
“Any person, other than the defendant, asserting a legal interest in the Forfeited Assets may, within thirty days of the final publication of notice or receipt of notice, whichever is earlier, petition the Court for a hearing without a jury to adjudicate the validity of their alleged interest in the property,” the document states.
The former Trump associate has denied accusations of collusion with Russia during the 2016 election, and has not faced any charges related to Russian election interference.
Manafort is the latest of several former Trump associates who have found themselves ensnared in criminal charges in the investigation, and is set to be sentenced in December.