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Former Trump manager charged with conspiracy against US

Paul Manafort and ex-associate Rick Gates surrendered to authorities on Monday.

Paul Manafort has been ordered to surrender to authorities.
Paul Manafort has been ordered to surrender to authorities. AP

Trump's ex-campaign chair Paul Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates have been charged with conspiring against the US in the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the US president's campaign.

Manafort and Gates surrendered to authorities on Monday and are expected to appear in court in Washington later.

They have been charged with 12 counts, including conspiracy to launder money, failing to register as a foreign agent, false statements, and multiple counts of failing to file reports for foreign bank accounts.

The charges are the first stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into possible ties between Mr Trump's presidential campaign and Russia.

President Trump with Manafort, who was fired as his campaign chairman in August.
President Trump with Manafort, who was fired as his campaign chairman in August. AP

The indictment alleges Manafort and gates moved money through hidden bank accounts in Cyprus, St Vincent and the Grenadines and the Seychelles.

In total more than 75 million dollars (£57 million) flowed through the offshore accounts.

Manafort is accused of laundering more than $18 million dollars (£13 million).

The 68-year-old was fired as Mr Trump's campaign chairman in August after word surfaced he had orchestrated a covert lobbying operation on behalf of pro-Russian interests in Ukraine.

Mr Trump's middle son, Eric Trump, said in an interview at the time that his father was concerned that questions about Manafort's past were taking attention away from the billionaire's presidential bid.

Manafort leaves his home on Monday.
Manafort leaves his home on Monday. AP

Manafort has long been the subject of a longstanding FBI investigation into his dealings in Ukraine and work for the country's former president, Viktor Yanukovych.

The Associated Press reported he also represented a Russian billionaire a decade ago with the goal of advancing the interests of President Vladimir Putin.

Earlier this year, Manafort's Virginia home was raided by FBI agents searching for tax and international banking records.

He has previously denied any wrongdoing related to his Ukrainian work, saying through a spokesman that it "was totally open and appropriate".

Gates was Manafort's chief deputy and a key player from Mr Trump's campaign who survived Manafort's removal last summer.

Two weeks ago, he was still working for Tom Barrack, a Trump confidant, helping with the inauguration committee's campaign account.

ITV News Washington Correspondent Robert Moore said if former FBI director Robert Mueller can prove there was collusion between Mr Trump's campaign and the Russians then it is a "significant legal and political challenge" for the president.

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