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    Former Austrian chancellor appears to have lobbied as part of Manafort scheme

    New filings made public by special counsel Robert Mueller on Friday shed fresh light on the Washington lobbying campaign orchestrated by Paul Manafort on behalf of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his allies.
    Manafort “secretly retained” several former senior European politicians to covertly promote Ukrainian interests in Washington. “Although the former politicians would appear to be providing their independent assessments of Government of Ukraine actions, in fact they were paid lobbyists for Ukraine,” according to a superseding indictment of Manafort filed by Mueller’s team.
    The coterie of Europeans was known as the Hapsburg Group, Andrew Weissman, one of Mueller’s prosecutors, said at a hearing on Friday. The group was led by a “former European chancellor” and was paid more than 2 million euros in 2012 and 2013, according to the court filings.
    The former chancellor isn’t named in the court filings, but appears to be Alfred Gusenbauer, who served as chancellor of Austria between 2007 and 2008. Gusenbauer and two lobbyists involved in Manafort’s lobbying campaign met with members of Congress and staffers in 2013, according to Justice Department disclosures retroactively filed last year by the lobbying firm Mercury.
    politico.com

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