Paul Manafort will get to keep his famous haute couture
In the end, Paul Manafort gets to keep the python jacket and the ostrich vest.
The FBI and the Justice Department never actually took possession of the two most memorable artifacts from the former Trump campaign chairman’s fraud trial last summer.
The FBI, in searching Manafort’s home and other possessions, had taken photos of dozens of hangers full of custom House of Bijan and Alan Couture clothing, including animal skin outerwear that was worth thousands — the python bomber worth $18,500, a camel hair sportcoat for $6,500, an ostrich track jacket at $15,000, an ostrich vest for $9,500.
And the government and Manafort never agreed for him to hand over the menswear as part of his forfeiture.
Even so, special counsel Robert Mueller — whose investigation cost about $25 million as of September 2018 — got his money’s worth out of the Manafort case.
Manafort is turning over property and assets worth at least $36 million to the US government and to his debtors and victims, which are mostly banks, as part of his criminal sentences.
He’s forfeited five properties in New York, including his Trump Tower condo, three bank accounts — including a trust for his kin, he said — and one life insurance policy. The real estate will be sold, and then that money split between the federal government and debtors and his victims. So far, the Justice Department has agreed to give millions back to the banks to pay off Manafort’s mortgages.
Once the sales and the payments to banks and debtors are done, Manafort still must pay about $17 million to the federal government: $11 million of it goes to the US Treasury, while $6 million he’ll send to the IRS, for back taxes.
The Mueller investigation’s largest amount recouped came from Manafort compared to all five defendants who’ve been sentenced in the special counsel’s probe. In addition to the millions from Manafort, Mueller’s probe also resulted in fines of almost $130,000, a total collected from Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, Dutch lawyer Alex Van der Zwaan, former Donald Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen and Manafort. (Cohen forfeited an another $1.4 million to the Internal Revenue Service for tax avoidance in a criminal case Mueller referred to Manhattan’s federal prosecutor.)
The fines ultimately go toward the national Crime Victims Fund. Two Mueller defendants who could face fines, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and Manafort’s campaign deputy Rick Gates, have yet to be sentenced.
The photos and mention of fancy clothes were some of the most striking pieces of evidence presented at Manafort’s trial last August, where a jury convicted him of tax and bank fraud. Though a judge wouldn’t allow prosecutors to show pictures of Manafort’s custom couture in court, prosecutors gave the photos and itemized invoices for the purchases to the jury during their deliberation. The Justice Department also released to the public several of the images and bills.
Aside from the tailored pelts, Manafort paid for several custom-made suits using wire transfers out of his secret offshore bank accounts that stashed his Ukrainian lobbying revenue, prosecutors showed.
Proprietors from both menswear boutiques Alan Couture and House of Bijan testified against Manafort at the trial. Manafort had been partial to cashmere coats and gabardine trousers, spending as much as $128,000 at a time. One jacket, a blue-textured Members-Only-style jacket, had a large label embroidered inside: “Wearable art by…Bijan For P.M.” That jacket appears to be made of lizard, according to an invoice — and Manafort paid $32,800 for it by wire transfer.
Manafort, now days away from turning 70, is serving a 7.5-year prison sentence. He said at his second sentencing before a federal judge this month that he no longer recognized the person described by prosecutors in court and wanted to be able to continue to support his wife.
“While I cannot undo the past, I can ensure that the future will be very different,” Manafort said in court.
He is still a rich man, according to prosecutors. At his sentencing, the prosecutors said Manafort still owns homes worth at least $4 million on Florida’s Gold Coast and in Alexandria, Virginia.
CORRECTION: This story’s headline has been updated to reflect that Manafort gets to keep his menswear.