Ukrainian tycoon denies coordination with Manafort

A prominent Ukrainian tycoon denied Thursday requesting or receiving US polling data from Paul Manafort, following revelations in a court filing Tuesday that pointed to coordination between the former Trump campaign chairman and the Russian government.

Rinat Akhmetov — one of Ukraine’s wealthiest men — said in a statement to CNN Thursday that allegations of contacts with Manafort and Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian-intelligence-linked associate of Manafort, were “false” and that Manafort’s work for Akhmetov’s System Capital Management (SCM) ended over a decade ago.

Special counsel Robert Mueller believes Manafort was sharing polling data and discussing Russian-Ukrainian policy with Kilimnik while he led the Trump presidential campaign in 2016, according to parts of a court filing that were meant to be redacted by Manafort’s legal team Tuesday but were released publicly.

CNN reported Wednesday that Manafort intended for Kilimnik to give the polls to Akhmetov and another Ukrainian oligarch. It is still unclear what Kilimnik did with the polling data. But Akhmetov’s denial leaves open the possibility that the campaign data made its way to others in Ukraine or Russia.

A statement to CNN on behalf of Akmetov said: “Mr. Akhmetov never requested nor received any polling data or any other information about the 2016 US elections from Paul Manafort or Konstantin Kilimnik.

“Any allegations about contacts between them and Mr. Akhmetov in relation to the 2016 US elections is false and will be strongly refuted.”

Akhmetov bankrolled the Party of Regions, a Ukranian political party aligned with Moscow that Manafort worked to bolster.