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Ukraine prosecutor says puzzled by lack of U.S. help on Manafort case

From Reuters - November 14, 2017

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine is puzzled by the lack of a U.S. response to requests it has made to question former Donald Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort as a witness over two cases involving misuse of Ukrainian state funds, the chief investigator said.

Manafort was indicted last month in Washington on charges he denies ranging from money laundering to acting as unregistered agent of former pro-Kremlin president Viktor Yanukovichs Party of Regions. The charges, some going back more than a decade, mention neither Trump nor his campaign.

Serhii Horbatiuk, head of special investigations at the general prosecutors office, told Reuters Ukraine had sent requests in 2014 and 2015 to question representatives of a law firm and Manafort.

He said Ukraine had received reassurances from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that the requests would be met, but without result.

Of course its not normal, Horbatiuk said in an interview at his office.

I would not say that we are upset, I would not say officially that we are upset, but its not clear why it is so, he said. Even the results they have got so far, we could have got them back in 2015 or 2016 with their help. But during these years there was no cooperation for unknown reasons.

In Washington, the FBI and the Department did not immediately respond to requests from Reuters for comment.

Horbatiuk is investigating two cases.

One relates to the suspected illegal use of Ukrainian state funds by justice ministry officials to pay a U.S. law firm for a report used to justify the imprisonment of former prime minister and political rival Yulia Tymoshenko during Yanukovichs rule.

The second relates to a so-called Black Ledger discovered after Yanukovichs 2014 ouster by street protests, a book supposedly listing payments from a slush fund by Yanukovichs Party of Regions to their associates, including Manafort.

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