KYIV, Nov. 1 - Ukraine’s prime minister said Tuesday his country would gladly turn over information it has on former Donald Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort if special counsel Robert Mueller asks, Newsweek reported.
Volodymyr Groysman, who took office in 2016, was reportedly attempting to fend off assertions of corruption inside Ukraine’s government a day after Manafort was charged by Mueller’s team with tax evasion and money laundering. Manafort, along with business associate and former Trump campaign official Rick Gates, was accused of funneling $75 million through offshore accounts, and much of it came from Ukraine.
Other charges against Manafort and Gates included failure to register as a foreign agent.
Groysman, though, evidently wants transparency and cooperativeness. "We haven't received any requests for information in this regard, but if we receive a request we will, of course, provide the information we have," Groysman told CBC News. Groysman was in Canada to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
He also wants to separate Ukraine’s present government from the previous regime of President Viktor Yanukovych, who was a pro-Russia candidate that Manafort propped up with a public relations campaign in 2014. That same year, Russia annexed part of Ukraine, Crimea, which led to severe economic and travel sanctions from the United States.
Yanukovych was later ousted and sought asylum in Russia.
"My government and our term in office have absolutely no relations to this scandal,” Groysman said.
Groysman also said Russia was actively spreading disinformation about Ukraine.
"This information is unbalanced," Groysman said. "It is biased, and we believe Russia invests a lot of its resources and money into propaganda as a tool of hybrid warfare against Ukraine in particular. Not all information in the world about Ukraine is true to the fact."
Yanukovych was part of the Party of Regions, backed by the Kremlin. Ukraine’s intelligence service, the SBU, probed Manafort’s operation and reportedly found the party paid him $28.5 million, or $600,000 a month over four years, according to USA Today. Previously, the sum was believed to be $12.5 million.
Mueller’s investigation, which Trump has called a “witch hunt,” has delved into Russia’s interference during last year’s presidential election to tip the scales in Trump’s favor over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Among other recent revelations, the probe has disclosed that a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, George Papadopoulos, met with and was in contact with Russians linked to the Kremlin who offered up “thousands” of Clinton’s emails. (nw/ez)