We learned this morning that the indictments issued by Robert Mueller’s grand jury are for former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his business partner Rick Gates. The ties between these two men date back to 2006 when Gates joined Manafort’s lobbying firm. A quick review of their work together might offer some insight into how this all ties into the Russia/Trump investigation.
Manafort and Gates both worked with a client of their firm, Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch with close ties to Vladimir Putin. Last May, Jeff Horowitz and Chad Day reported this about their early relationship:
Manafort proposed in a confidential strategy plan as early as June 2005 that he would influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and former Soviet republics to benefit President Vladimir Putin’s government, even as U.S.-Russia relations under Republican President George W. Bush grew worse.
Manafort pitched the plans to aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, a close Putin ally with whom Manafort eventually signed a $10 million annual contract beginning in 2006, according to interviews with several people familiar with payments to Manafort and business records obtained by the AP.
Manafort and Gates were involved in various business ventures with Deripaska over the years until one went south.
By 2014, Deripaska had filed a petition in a Cayman Islands court accusing Manafort and Gates of taking $19 million intended for investment then failing to account for the funds or return them.
At one point, Deripaska hired a private investigator to track the two men down and continued his court case at least until August 2015. Then this happened: