New York Times: House’s Inquiry Into Russia Points a Congressman to Cyprus
The following article was published on April 14, 2017. A link to the article can be found here.
By Michael S. Schmidt and Adam Goldman
A Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee conducted interviews and collected documents in Cyprus this week as part of the panel’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the American election, and possible links between President Trump’s associates and Moscow.
Representative Mike Quigley of Illinois said Friday that Cyprus is the center of Russian money laundering, and that the panel “must follow the facts wherever they take us.”
Cyprus, considered a tax haven, has emerged as a focal point in criminal and congressional investigations of Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who had bank accounts there. The F.B.I. is examining Mr. Manafort’s business dealings in Ukraine, and any links he has to the Russian government.
Mr. Quigley, who traveled to Nicosia, the island nation’s capital, with an intelligence committee staff member, said he would not discuss what he had learned.
“If you are doing a Russia probe, Cyprus is the place to go,” Mr. Quigley said. “These are extraordinary times and the public has a right to know what steps we are taking to try and get to the bottom of what occurred — I just can’t discuss what I found.”
He added that, while there, he also discussed counterterrorism and Turkey-Greece relations.
Mr. Quigley, in Cyprus for two days, said his visit underlined to him the need for an independent commission to investigate Russia’s involvement in the election.
“The more I learn, the more complex, layered and textured I see the Russia issue is — and that reinforces the need for professional full-time investigators,” Mr. Quigley said.
The inquiry by the intelligence committee has been marred by partisan fighting. For several weeks, the investigation was paused after the Republican chairman of the committee, Representative Devin Nunes of California, was accused of disclosing classified information. Mr. Nunes has since recused himself from the investigation.
According to The Associated Press, officers from the United States Treasury recently obtained financial records from Cyprus as part of the investigation into Mr. Manafort’s activities. Mr. Manafort has described the transactions as routine.
Mr. Manafort, who once lobbied for former President Viktor F. Yanukovych of Ukraine, resigned as Mr. Trump’s chairman in August after his name surfaced in secret ledgers showing millions in undisclosed cash payments intended for Mr. Manafort from Mr. Yanukovych’s political party.