INTERNATIONALTOP NEWS

Manafort gets nearly 4 yrs in prison for bank, tax fraud charges

Washington

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort has been sentenced to nearly 4 years in prison in the US state of Virginia over bank and tax fraud related to his work in Ukraine, a Sputnik correspondent reported. Manafort faced up to 25 years in prison for tax and bank fraud , and additional time for conspiracy counts including those related to work he did for the Ukraine government.

Judge TS Ellis during the hearing on Thursday said the government’s sentencing request of 19 to 24 years was “excessive” and sentenced Manafort 47 months instead.

The judge pointed out that the sentence is not related to the Russia investigation. “He [Manafort] is not before the court for anything having to do with colluding with the Russian government,” Ellis said.

US government prosecutors argued that Manafort did not give them any useful information. “He told us 50 hours of things we already knew,” the prosecutor said. “It wasn’t something we didn’t know.” Manafort in his turn shared that he felt “humiliated and shamed” and appealed to the judge to be compassionate.

“My life personally and professionally is in shambles,” Manafort added. Last August, a jury in Virginia found Manafort guilty on eight felony counts, including tax evasion and bank fraud. In September, Manafort reached a plea agreement to cooperate with prosecutors on the second criminal case brought against him in Washington, DC. Under the deal, he pleaded guilty to two new counts – participating in a conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice – and also admitted guilt in 10 of the outstanding charges brought against him in the Virginia court. However, a US judged voided Manafort’s plea deal earlier this month after determining he lied to investigators about contact with a Russian associate.

Manafort is also facing sentencing in a separate case in Washington, DC on March 13 on one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been investigating claims that Russia meddled in the 2016 US presidential election, as well as allegations of collusion between Trump’s campaign team and Moscow. Russia has repeatedly denied interfering in the election, saying the allegations were made up to excuse the defeat of Trump’s campaign opponent as well as deflect public attention from actual instances of electoral fraud and corruption. The claims of collusion have also been repeatedly dismissed by both Moscow and US President Donald Trump, who has called Mueller’s probe a “

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