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The Foreign Consultant

Before he was Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort was an adviser to a Ukrainian strongman. After what happened in Kiev, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Learn more about Charlie Black

Learn more about Taras Berezovets

Learn more about Tom Hamburger

Learn more about John E. Herbst

Learn more about Hanna Herman

Learn more about Serhiy Leshchenko

Learn more about Jim Slattery

Learn more about Manafort’s most notorious clients

Learn more about Paul Manafort’s years in Ukraine

Learn more about Paul Manafort’s role in the Trump campaign

Important figures

Headshot of Rinat Akhmetov

Rinat Akhmetov

Rinat Akhmetov is a Ukrainian oligarch who hired Paul Manafort as an adviser in 2005 to burnish the reputation of one of his steel companies in the eastern Donetsk region. Through Akhmetov, Manafort was also brought on as a consultant for the Party of Regions and tasked with rehabilitating the image of Viktor Yanukovych.

Headshot of Oleg Deripaska

Oleg Deripaska

Oleg Deripaska is one of Russia’s wealthiest men and belongs to a trusted circle of businessmen around President Vladimir Putin. Deripaska partnered with Paul Manafort and Rick Gates on an investment fund based in the Cayman Islands but filed suit against them in 2014, alleging they failed to account for $19 million.

Headshot of Rick Gates

Rick Gates

Rick Gates is a longtime associate of Paul Manafort and worked closely with him in Ukraine. He was also a top official on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and a deputy chairman of his inaugural committee. In February 2018, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy and lying to the FBI, striking a deal to cooperate and provide information to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

Headshot of Yulia Tymoshenko

Yulia Tymoshenko

Yulia Tymoshenko was a leader of the “Orange Revolution” in 2004 and the first woman to serve as Ukraine’s prime minister. A longtime rival of Viktor Yanukovych, she was jailed for 2½ years under his administration.

Headshot of Viktor Yanukovych

Viktor Yanukovych

Viktor Yanukovych was president of Ukraine from 2010 to 2014. During his rise to power and his time in office, Paul Manafort was one of his closest advisers. A popular uprising forced Yanukovych into exile in Russia, and the Ukrainian government is trying to recover $1.5 billion in assets it accuses Yanukovych and his associates of stealing from the country.

Manafort’s most notorious clients

Photo of Ferdinand Marcos

Ferdinand Marcos

Ferdinand Marcos was president of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986 and ruled under martial law for nearly a decade. A front group for Marcos signed a $950,000 contract with Paul Manafort’s firm in 1985. Before going into exile, Marcos’s family accumulated a fortune of up to $10 billion. Amnesty International has estimated that 34,000 people were tortured and more than 3,000 killed under his watch.

Photo of Jonas Savimbi

Jonas Savimbi

Jonas Savimbi led a decades-long insurgency against the Angolan government that resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths. A warlord, diamond smuggler and recruiter of child soldiers, Savimbi signed a $600,000 contract with Paul Manafort’s firm in 1985.

Photo of Mobutu Sese Seko

Mobutu Sese Seko

Mobutu Sese Seko was the military dictator of Zaire, now Congo, from 1965 to 1997. In 1989, Mobutu signed a $1 million-per-year contract with Paul Manafort’s firm. He was forced from power after three decades of plundering one of Africa’s poorest countries and amassing a fortune estimated at $5 billion.


Manafort’s role in the Trump campaign

March 29, 2016

Manafort joins Trump campaign as convention manager.

May 19, 2016

Manafort becomes campaign chairman.

August 15, 2016

Ukrainian investigators confirm the appearance of Manafort’s name in the “black ledger.”

August 19, 2016

Manafort resigns from the Trump campaign.

Manafort’s years in Ukraine


Manafort is hired to consult for Ukraine’s Party of Regions and former PM Viktor Yanukovych.


Yanukovych is elected president.


Opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko is jailed.


Yanukovych is forced into exile in Russia after a popular uprising.

Cast of characters

Headshot of Charlie Black

Charlie Black

Charlie Black is a friend and former business partner of Paul Manafort. Along with Roger Stone, they founded one of the District’s premiere lobbying firms in 1980 and were among the first to offer political consulting services to foreign leaders.

Headshot of Taras Berezovets

Taras Berezovets

Taras Berezovets is a political consultant in Ukraine. During the years Paul Manafort was working to elect Viktor Yanukovych, Berezovets was advising his main rival, Yulia Tymoshenko.

Headshot of Tom Hamburger

Tom Hamburger

Tom Hamburger is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter on the national desk of The Washington Post. With a longtime focus on the intersection of money and politics, he has closely followed the career of Paul Manafort and the expansion of the U.S. lobbying industry.

Headshot of John E. Herbst

John E. Herbst

John E. Herbst served for thirty-one years as a foreign service officer in the U.S. Department of State and was ambassador to Ukraine from 2003-2006. He is currently the director of the Atlantic Council's Eurasia Center .

Headshot of Hanna Herman

Hanna Herman

Hanna Herman was a press secretary and top adviser to former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. She worked side-by-side with Paul Manafort during his years in Ukraine.

Headshot of Serhiy Leshchenko

Serhiy Leshchenko

Serhiy Leshchenko was one of Ukraine’s leading investigative journalists during the Yanukovych years. After the 2014 revolution, he was elected to parliament and helped reveal the existence of what is known as the “black ledger.”

Headshot of Jim Slattery

Jim Slattery

Jim Slattery is a former U.S. congressman and lobbyist who represented Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko during her trial and imprisonment.



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Photo credits: Jonas Savimbi (GIDEON MENDEL/AFP/Getty Images), Ferdinand Marcos (UPI), Mobutu Sese Seko (Patrick de Noirmont/Getty Images), Rinat Akhmetov (Thomas Koehler/Photothek via Getty Images), Yulia Tymoshenko (Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters), Viktor Yanukovych (Julian Finney/GETTY IMAGES), Oleg Deripaska (Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg), Rick Gates (Alex Brandon/AP)

Originally published July 30, 2018.