Summary: Paul Manafort and Jeffrey Yohai are being investigated by the FBI for Yohai’s bad real estate deals.
Paul Manafort and his son-in-law are under investigation by the FBI for allegedly shady real Estate deals. Those deals have cost high-profile investors like Dustin Hoffman millions in losses.
According to the New York Times, the FBI is examining Manafort and his son-in-law’s financial transactions that involve the financing of apartments and luxury homes in New York and California. These deals used money from Manafort and investors solicited by son-in-law, Jeffrey Yohai.
Dustin Hoffman was one of Yohai’s investors, and he reportedly lost up to $3 million investing in a Los Angeles home. Yohai had told Hoffman and his son, Jacob Hoffman, that he was developing property on Blue Jay Way, an exclusive and highly desired street in Hollywood that is home to celebrities like Leonardo Dicaprio and Jodie Foster. Yohai wanted to build a modest property on the Blue Jay Way lot and then later construct a $30 million mansion over it.
Unfortunately for the Hoffmans, the deal soured after they handed over their money. Yohai owned several real estate companies that had all gone bankrupt, and one of those companies was handling the Blue Jay project.
Although Hoffman suffered a big loss, he was not alone. Yohai had also been accused by other investors of fraud, and those accusations, as well as Manafort’s alleged ties to Russia, sparked the FBI’s interest.
Manafort was President Donald Trump’s campaign manager until he resigned in August 2016 after reports surfaced that he had received millions of dollars from Ukraine in off-the-book payments. These payments led to him being the focus of investigations into his businesses, lobbying, and relationship with Trump and Russia.
The FBI is currently investigating Russia and their possible influence on the 2016 Presidential Election. Manafort is a key figure in the investigation because of his consulting work for Ukraine’s former president, who is an ally to Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin. As a consultant and lobbyist, Manafort has dealt with numerous Russian oligarchs, and one of his former employees is being investigated for his ties to Russian intelligence. According to The New York Times, the investigators’ “interest in Mr. Yohai’s activities comes amid indications that the scrutiny of Mr. Manafort has intensified.”
Yohai was married to Manafort’s daughter, Jessica, who filed for divorce in March. In the couple’s divorce proceedings, she revealed that Manafort had invested in Yohai’s real estate shell companies and that the two men were equal partners.
Before filing bankruptcy on his numerous companies, Yohai was flashy with money, often offering to put down millions in cash. He had appeared on Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing, a real estate show about the rich and famous; and he had offered to buy three New York apartments for $15 million. When asked if Yohai actually had that money, Manafort’s other daughter Andrea said that Yohai was “running a Ponzi scheme.”
In November, Yohai was sued by a real estate investor and was accused of using his shell companies to repay old investors with new investors’ money.
Yohai and Manafort declined to comment to the New York Times.
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Source: The New York Times