As reported by Censor.NET citing The Atlantic, Manafort's work, the source of the status he cherished, had taken a devastating turn. For nearly a decade, he had counted primarily on a single client, albeit an exceedingly lucrative one. He’d been the chief political strategist to the man who became the president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, with whom he’d developed a highly personal relationship.
Manafort would swim naked with his boss outside his banya, play tennis with him at his palace (“Of course, I let him win,” Manafort made it known), and generally serve as an arbiter of power in a vast country. One of his deputies, Rick Gates, once boasted to a group of Washington lobbyists, “You have to understand, we’ve been working in Ukraine a long time, and Paul has a whole separate shadow government structure … In every ministry, he has a guy.” Only a small handful of Americans—oil executives, Cold War spymasters—could claim to have ever amassed such influence in a foreign regime. The power had helped fill Manafort’s bank accounts; according to his recent indictment, he had tens of millions of dollars stashed in havens like Cyprus and the Grenadines.
Manafort had profited from the sort of excesses that make a country ripe for revolution. And in the early months of 2014, protesters gathered on the Maidan, Kyiv’s Independence Square, and swept his patron from power. Fearing for his life, Yanukovych sought protective shelter in Russia. Manafort avoided any harm by keeping a careful distance from the enflamed city. But in his Kyiv office, he’d left behind a safe filled with papers that he would not have wanted to fall into public view or the wrong hands.
When Yanukovych won the presidency in 2010, he gave Manafort “walk in” privileges, allowing him to stroll into the inner sanctum of the presidential offices at any time. Yanukovych could be bullheaded, and as his presidency progressed, he increasingly cut himself off from advisers. Manafort, however, knew how to change Yanukovych’s mind, using polling and political arguments to make his case. Oleg Voloshyn, a former spokesman in the foreign-affairs ministry, told the investigative journalist that his own boss, the foreign minister, eventually turned to Manafort to carry messages and make arguments regarding foreign-policy priorities on his behalf. “Yanukovych would listen to him,” Voloshyn told me, “when our arguments were ignored.”
Over the decades, Manafort had cut a trail of foreign money and influence into Washington, then built that trail into a superhighway. When it comes to serving the interests of the world’s autocrats, he’s been a great innovator. His indictment in October after investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller alleges money laundering, false statements, and other acts of personal corruption. (He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.) But Manafort’s role in Mueller’s broader narrative remains carefully guarded, and unknown to the public. And his personal corruption is less significant, ultimately, than his lifetime role as a corrupter of the American system. That he would be accused of helping a foreign power subvert American democracy is a fitting coda to his life’s story.
On May 31, 2017, Petro Poroshenko Bloc MP Serhii Leshchenko and journalists Anton Marchuk and Sevhil Musaieva-Borovyk published some of the documents proving the existence of Party of Regions' slush funds. According to the materials, the Party of Regions spent $66 million on political corruption over the second half of 2012.
Read more: Associated Press obtains evidence of Manafort's firm receiving Ukraine ledger payout
Even earlier, ex-Deputy Head of the Security Service of Ukraine Viktor Trepak said he had passed the information about Party of Regions' slush funds to the National Anti-Corruption Bureau.
NABU Director Artem Sytnyk confirmed the acceptance of 841 files related to the slush funds and covering the period between 2008-2012. Sytnyk announced the start of identification of all persons indicated in the documents, adding the NABU would take measures to prevent their possible escape from the country. He noted the involvants will be charged under the "offering of undue profit" article of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.