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Mueller probe: Manafort, Russian fixer Kilimnik charged with obstruction

AFP  |  Washington 

socked former Trump campaign with new obstruction of justice charges today, and also charged for the first time Manafort's Russian fixer

Kilimnik, a former army-trained with alleged ties to Russian intelligence, was included in an updated, lengthened indictment of Manafort that accused both of witness tampering.

The new indictment came four days after prosecutors said Manafort had tried to contact two witnesses in his money laundering and case via Kilimnik to persuade them to make certain representations to investigators.

Manafort and Kilimnik "knowingly and intentionally conspired to corruptly persuade another person... with intent to influence, delay and prevent the testimony" of people involved in the investigation.

The indictment took the number of people indicted by the 13-month-old investigation by to 20, with three companies also indicted.

Mueller has a broad mandate to investigate any possible collusion between Trump's 2016 election campaign team and Russia, including possible obstruction of the investigation by and any others.

Trump has repeatedly branded the investigation a political "witch hunt" and unconstitutional, and said he had the power both to end the probe and to pardon himself if he wants, although he has not been charged with anything.

The Manafort case though focuses on his work between 2004 and 2014 in for pro-politicians including former

Manafort, who was of Trump's campaign for several months in 2016, has been charged with multiple counts of tax evasion, money laundering and

Kilimnik worked with Manafort in during that time, and during the 2016 election they were reportedly in regular contact.

In previous court filings Mueller's team has referred to Kilimnik as "Person A", someone "who is currently based in and assessed to have ties to a service." According to a filing earlier this week, Manafort contacted Kilimnik recently to get his help to influence two unnamed people -- said to be European-based -- in their testimony to Mueller on the so-called

The were onetime politicians Manafort allegedly secretly paid more than two million euros ($2.5 million) to lobby for Yanukovych in 2012-2013. The group included one unidentified former

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, June 09 2018. 01:25 IST