US election: Trump adviser denies Ukraine ‘cash payments’

Donald Trump with Paul Manafort and Mr Trump’s daughter Ivanka at the Republican National Convention. PHOTO: REUTERS

Donald Trump’s top aide has denied receiving “payments” from the former Russian-backed Ukrainian government.

“I have never received a single ‘off-the-books cash payment,’” Paul Manafort said in a statement.

The New York Times reported finding ledgers pledging $12.7m (£9.8m) in undisclosed cash payments to Mr Manafort between 2007 and 2012.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign has called for Mr Trump’s team to disclose any pro-Russia links.

“The simplest answer is the truth: I am a campaign professional. It is well known that I do work in the United States and have done work on overseas campaigns as well. I have never received a single ‘off-the-books cash payment’ as falsely ‘reported’ by the New York Times,” the statement reads.

The New York Times article said Mr Trump’s campaign manager and his business played a key role in advising Ukraine’s former pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled after an uprising in November 2013.

Mr Manafort’s work advising Mr Yanukovych’s pro-Russia political party, ended when the country’s parliamentary elections were held in 2014, he said in his statement.

The New York Times report said Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau had discovered the listed payments in the ledgers of Mr Yanukovych’s then governing Party of the Regions – allegedly part of “an illegal off-the-books system”.

The bureau is also investigating business deals worth millions of dollars put together with the help of Mr Manafort’s business.