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Paul Manafort stopped from boarding plane to UAE over revoked passport

By Whitney Wild, Geneva Sands and Marshall Cohen, CNN

Former Donald Trump adviser Paul Manafort was stopped by US customs officials at Miami International Airport on Sunday and prevented from boarding a flight bound for Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, according to a spokesman for the Miami-Dade Police Department.

Manafort, Trump’s campaign chairman in 2016, was denied the ability to travel by US Customs and Border Protection, according to detective Alvaro Zabaleta, the police spokesman.

“His US Passport was revoked and he could not take his flight,” the spokesman said, adding that there was “no further incident.”

Manafort intended to fly on Emirates flight 214i. The incident happened around 9 p.m. ET on Sunday.

CBP spokesperson Kris Grogan declined to comment. CNN has reached out to the State Department and Manafort’s attorney for comment.

The Justice Department said in a 2017 court filing that Manafort had submitted 10 passport applications over the last decade and that he had three active US passports, each with a different identification number. This was “indicative of his travel schedule,” prosecutors said.

Manafort has spent decades as a high-paid consultant for political figures around the world, including countries like Ukraine, the Philippines and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The purpose of his planned travel to the UAE is unclear.

He made $60 million working for former Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych, the Kremlin-friendly leader who was ousted in a popular revolution in 2014. Manafort has always maintained that he tried to bring Ukraine closer to the West, but Yanukovych was seen as a Kremlin ally and took refuge in Russia after fleeing from Kyiv.

Special counsel Robert Mueller zeroed in on Manafort’s dealings in Ukraine and charged him with a litany of crimes, including illegal foreign lobbying and money laundering. Manafort was convicted at a 2018 trial of eight counts, including bank fraud and filing false tax returns. He later pleaded guilty to a wide-ranging conspiracy involving his undisclosed lobbying for Ukraine.

Federal judges sentenced Manafort to serve seven and a half years in prison. He only spent about two years behind bars because he was released in 2020 due to concerns about the Covid-19 pandemic.

He was a key figure in the probe into potential Trump-Russia collusion — largely because during the 2016 campaign, he was in regular contact with a Russian spy, was deeply indebted to a major Russian oligarch and indirectly passed internal Trump campaign data to the Russians.

But he never implicated Trump in any wrongdoing and always denied that any collusion took place. Trump rewarded Manafort with a pardon in December 2020, weeks before leaving office.

In a recent radio interview, Manafort weighed in on the Russian war against Ukraine, saying the US should give more weapons to Kyiv and that the Ukrainian people “cherish their freedoms.”

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