Paul Manafort’s former son-in-law, Jeffrey Yohai, has reached a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, a lawyer for Yohai tells BuzzFeed News.
“I can only confirm that he has reached a plea agreement,” attorney James Hinds said Thursday.
Reuters first reported the agreement, citing unnamed sources. It was not immediately clear what charges are involved in the plea agreement, as it currently is sealed.
A source familiar with the plea agreement said that, under the deal, Yohai has agreed to ongoing cooperation with federal and state prosecutors. Yohai, the source said, already has spoken with officials from the Special Counsel’s Office and the New York Attorney General’s Office, in addition to the US Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles.
A law enforcement source familiar with the New York investigation confirmed to BuzzFeed News that officials with the New York Attorney General’s Office have met with Yohai in recent months as part of its investigation into Yohai’s financial dealings.
Yohai’s real estate business with Manafort, which resulted in multiple bankruptcy filings in late 2016, had caught the attention of federal prosecutors in Los Angeles. Yohai’s plea agreement is with that office, the US Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.
BuzzFeed News previously reported that a bank in California forcibly closed two accounts linked to Yohai and Manafort’s business dealings due to a series of transactions the bank deemed to be suspicious.
A few days before the 2016 election, the bank — Banc of California — filed a suspicious activity report, or SAR, with the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) detailing the transactions and closing of the accounts. By law, banks must file suspicious activity reports when they spot transactions that bear hallmarks of money laundering or other financial misconduct. Such reports can support investigations and intelligence gathering, but are not on their own evidence of a crime.
Manafort faces federal charges currently in federal court in DC and Virginia unrelated to the pair’s real estate business. Those charges were brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office and relate to work Manafort and his associate, Rick Gates, did for pro-Russia political figures and parties in Ukraine. Gates took a plea deal earlier this year and is cooperating with Mueller’s office.
Manafort has pleaded not guilty and, in addition, is challenging the authority of Mueller’s office even to pursue the charges against him. The judge hearing his case in DC denied a request to dismiss the charges on those grounds, but the request remains pending in the Virginia case.
A spokesperson for Manafort did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Special Counsel’s Office declined to comment, the New York Attorney General’s Office did not provide comment, and the US Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California did not immediately respond to a request for comment.