Today former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates pleaded not guilty to indictments from the Robert Mueller probe into the Trump campaign and Russian collusion or cooperation during the 2016 United States Presidential election.
Quoting from a Reuters story published today, one needs to remember why Manafort left the Trump campaign chairmanship in August: “Manafort ran the Trump campaign from June to August of 2016 before resigning amid reports he might have received millions of dollars in illegal payments from a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.”
Whether or not the payments themselves were illegal may not be the point — even if the payments were legal, if Manafort received them and hid that income from United States authorities, and did not pay tax on that income, he would be guilty of tax evasion or tax avoidance, which is a crime. If the payments were not legal, then he could be guilty of money-laundering: receiving funds from illegal sources and then using those funds in legal financial transactions in order to “launder” the dirty money and make it clean.
Considering that most investigators and prosecutors in cases like this usually issue the first indictments for relatively “small crimes/criminals,” it seems that this is likely the tip of a potential iceberg of indictments.