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