Tags: Donald Trump | Russia | campaign | manager | Paul Manafort | The New York Times

NYT: Manafort Took Loan From Trump-Tied Firms Day He Quit

Image: NYT: Manafort Took Loan From Trump-Tied Firms Day He Quit
Paul Manafort (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

By    |   Wednesday, 12 Apr 2017 08:53 PM

Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman for President Donald Trump, filed papers to form a shell company that borrowed money from two companies with ties to Trump the same day he stepped down as campaign manager, The New York Times reported.

That day was August 19, 2016, and his resignation came as Manafort was under increasing scrutiny for his past business links to Ukraine just as the Trump campaign was under the microscope over purported ties to Russia.

One of the two firms that loaned Manafort's shell company $13 million as a result of papers filed that day has a partnership with a Ukrainian-born billionaire, and the other is led by a Trump economic adviser, the Times reported.

"The transactions raise a number of questions, including whether Mr. Manafort's decision to turn to Trump-connected lenders was related to his role in the campaign, where he had agreed to serve for free," the Times wrote.

Investigators have looked at Manafort's ties to Ukraine and Russia as part of a probe of Russian attempts to influence the U.S. presidential election, but there is no evidence the latest loans are part of that investigation, the Times noted.

The shell company, named Summerbreeze LLC, received a loan in September for $3.5 million that came from the private lending unit of Spruce Capital, a New York investment firm partially backed by Ukrainian-born Alexander Rovt, who is now an American citizen.

Spruce co-founder Joshua Crane has developed Trump hotel projects.

Crane did not comment to the Times, and Rovt, a Trump campaign donor, said he never met Manafort and was not involved in the loan.

"I did not recommend him or put the parties together," he said in an email sent to the Times by his lawyer.

In November, Summerbreeze borrowed $9.5 million from Federal Savings Bank of Chicago, which is headed by Stephen M. Calk, a top Trump economic adviser at the time.

The Chicago bank typically provides affordable mortgages to military veterans. The New York loan was the only one for that firm outside New York City and the only one for a single-family home.

Manafort said his loans "are personal and all reflect arm's-length transactions at or above market rates.

"There is nothing out of the ordinary about them," he said, "and I am confident anyone who isn't afflicted with scandal fever will come to the same conclusion."

Rovt, the Ukrainian-born businessman, had donated to mostly to Democrats previously in the 2016 election cycle, but made a $10,000 donation to Trump's campaign on election day. Most was returned to him because it exceeded the $2,700 limit.

Asked about the last-minute change of heart, Rovt told the Times his friends had been urging him to donate to Trump.

"So, I finally did," he said.

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Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman for President Donald Trump, filed papers to form a shell company that borrowed money from two companies with ties to Trump the same day he stepped down as campaign manager, The New York Times reported.
campaign, manager, Paul Manafort, The New York Times
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2017-53-12
Wednesday, 12 Apr 2017 08:53 PM
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