Before becoming Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort owed as much as $17 million to pro-Russia interests, according to financial records from Cyprus. The New York Times reports that Manafort kept bank accounts in Cyprus while working as a political consultant for Ukraine’s pro-Russia Party of Regions, and the money was owed by shell companies connected to Manafort.
The documents list transactions that took place in 2012 and 2013, involving a complex web of more than a dozen entities. According to the Times, it’s unclear why the transfers occurred, and “it is possible they were characterized as loans for another purpose, like avoiding taxes that would otherwise be owed on income or equity investments.”
One of the more interesting debts is $7.8 million owed to Oleg V. Deripaska, a Russian oligarch close to Russian president Vladimir Putin. Deripaska has previously claimed that Manafort and his associates owed him $19 million for a failed investment in a Ukrainian TV company.
Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni said the records were “stale and do not purport to reflect any current financial arrangements.” Manafort has repeatedly denied that he colluded with Russia to influence the U.S. election.
Manafort was forced to resign in August as reports emerged about his activities in Ukraine. Earlier this month, the AP reported that the ongoing probe into Manafort’s business dealings is now being overseen by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Manafort is set to testify before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee at a hearing on July 26, along with Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son.