Published: Thu, December 06, 2018

Manafort tried to make deal with Ecuador to hand over Julian Assange

Manafort tried to make deal with Ecuador to hand over Julian Assange

"When Mr. Manafort met with President Moreno of Ecuador to discuss the China Development Fund, the president raised with Mr. Manafort his desire to remove Julian Assange from Ecuador's embassy", Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni told CBS News.

Paul Manafort, US President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman who awaits sentencing for lying to federal investigators in breach of a plea agreement, flew to Ecuador to help negotiate a deal for the handover of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to Washington, a media report said. According to the outlet, Trump's former manager, who is reported to have presented himself as a liaison for the new USA administration, travelled to Quito to facilitate a deal between Chinese investors and the Latin American country's power sector. On Monday, The New York Times reported that Manafort discussed Assange's fate with Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno at least twice.

But the talks instead turned to a diplomatic point between the United States and Ecuador: the fate of the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Manafort offered to arrange for Assange to be handed over to the USA, where he has been investigated for the leak of thousands of secret US diplomatic cables in 2010.

Manafort was convicted of bank and tax fraud earlier this year, and agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller in his prove of Russia's meddling in the 2016 election.

According to the sources, there was no evidence that Manafort was working with or even briefing Trump or other administration officials on his discussions with the Ecuadoreans about Assange. Manafort's spokesperson also specified that "there was no mention of Russian Federation at the meeting' with the Ecuadorian president".

Read the full Times report here.

The subject of Assange's asylum status at Ecuador's London Embassy came up on a trip Manafort made to Quito in May 2017, three sources told the Times. Sweden dropped its investigation in May 2017, but Assange fears he will be extradited to the United States to face prosecution over WikiLeaks' publication of leaked USA military and diplomatic documents.

Like this: