Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s short-lived campaign chairman who was cast out in scandal before the election, was once employed by Russian billionaire and pro-Putin oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, the Associated Press (AP) reports. Manafort worked for the Trump campaign from late March to mid-August, aiding the then Republican candidate in clinching the Republican nomination. Manafort resigned after his past ties with Russia were revealed by Ukrainian anticorruption authorities.

Lobbying for Yanukovych

During Trump's campaign, the authorities provided evidence that the Party of Regions, the pro-Russian organizations Manafort worked for in Ukraine, may have paid him $12.7 million from an illegal slush fund.

Manafort’s work for the pro-Kremlin political organizations involved helping organize Washington lobbyists to support former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s pro-Russian agenda. The Black Ledger discovered the anticorruption authorities listed millions of dollars in payments to Manafort, including an invoice that billed $750,000 in “computer payments” to Neocom Systems Limited, a shell company in Belize which has surfaced in other corruption probes.

Newest Allegations

As the FBI continues to investigate congressional inquiries into whether any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia occurred, new allegations against Manafort have arisen, suggesting he was even more directly linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A confidential 2005 strategic outline reveals that Manafort made a pitch to Oleg Deripaska to advance Putin’s interests through influencing business, politics and US, European and ex-Soviet republic news coverage.

The aluminum magnate is one of Putin’s closest allies and has benefited from his relationship with the Russian president by becoming one of the country's wealthiest men.

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In 2006, a description of Deripaska via U.S. diplomatic cables labeled him “among the 2-3 oligarchs Putin turns to on a regular basis.” Although Manafort confirmed to the AP that he’d been employed by Deripaska, he claimed none of this work was “inappropriate or nefarious.”

“I worked with Oleg Deripaska almost a decade ago representing him on business and personal matters in countries where he had investments,” Manafort told the AP.

“My work for Mr. Deripaska did not involve representing Russian political interests.”

The newly uncovered evidence suggests otherwise, however. In his proposal to Deripaska, Manafort is said to have written, “We are now of the belief that this model can greatly benefit the Putin government if employed at the correct levels with the appropriate commitment to success.” Manafort further stated that his services would “refocus, both internally and externally, the policies of the Putin government.” After signing a $10 million-per-year contract in 2006, Manafort’s business relations with Deripaska lasted until 2009.

These newest allegations come on the heels of a congressional hearing on the matter. On Monday, the investigation into Russian ties to the Trump campaign went under the microscope, with F.B.I. Director, James B. Comey, refusing to discuss the bureau’s investigation into Manafort.