The campaign managers of both U.S. presidential candidates are embroiled in a new federal investigation into possible ties to alleged corruption involving the former president of Ukraine, Reuters report.
Paul Manafort, former campaign manager for Donald Trump, and Tony Podesta, brother of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta, are among the political operatives investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Justice Department, CNN reported Friday, citing multiple U.S. law enforcement officials.
The broad-based investigation was looking into whether U.S. companies and the financial system were used to enable corruption by the party of former pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, CNN said.
In response to a report in the New York Times on Monday, Manafort denied any impropriety in a statement. "I have never received a single 'off-the-books cash payment' as falsely 'reported' by The New York Times, nor have I ever done work for the governments of Ukraine or Russia," he said.
The New York Times reported that he had received cash payments worth more than US$12 million over five years that were itemized on secret ledgers belonging to Yanukovich's Party of Regions.
Manafort, who resigned as chairman of Trump's campaign on Friday, had not been the focus of the probe, CNN said, citing the officials.
The probe was looking at the work of other firms linked to the former Ukrainian government, including the Podesta Group, a lobbying and public relations company headed by Tony Podesta and co-founded by John Podesta.
The Podesta Group has hired an independent legal firm to investigate whether it had been misled by the Centre for a Modern Ukraine, a not-for-profit group linked to the ousted Ukrainian government, a spokeswoman for the group said in a statement.
The Justice Department, asked to comment on the report, said it remained "committed to helping recover stolen assets on behalf of the people of Ukraine."
Investigators in Ukraine have said Yanukovych and his party engaged in widespread corruption. He fled to Russia following a popular uprising in 2014.