WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Paul Manafort, who served last year as U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign manager, is planning to register with the Justice Department as a foreign agent, his spokesman said on Wednesday.
Manafort’s lobbying for a foreign client ended before he began working on Trump’s presidential campaign “and was not conducted on behalf of the Russian government,” spokesman Jason Maloni said in a statement.
Manafort’s ties to Russia are part of probes underway by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and congressional intelligence committees into Moscow’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, according to reports by the New York Times and other media.
Manafort has denied any impropriety and has volunteered to be interviewed by the House intelligence committee. Russia has denied interfering in the election.
“Since before the 2016 election, Mr. Manafort has been in discussions with federal authorities about the advisability of registering under FARA for some of his past political work,” Mr. Maloni said, referring to the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
“Mr. Manafort received formal guidance recently from the authorities and he is taking appropriate steps in response to the guidance. The work in question was widely known,” Maloni said. He declined to be more specific.
Manafort previously worked on behalf of the political party of Viktor Yanukovich, the former Kremlin-backed leader of Ukraine.
Manafort resigned from Trump’s campaign last August, days after documents surfaced in Kiev suggesting he had received millions in undisclosed payments from Yanukovich’s party.
The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that it had obtained financial records confirming that at least $1.2 million in payments were received by Manafort’s consulting firm in the United States in 2007 and 2009.
“Any wire transactions received by my company are legitimate payments for political consulting work that was provided. I invoiced my clients and they paid via wire transfer, which I received through a U.S. bank,” Manafort told the AP.
Reporting by Warren Strobel; Editing by Lisa Shumaker