The campaign team of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is under pressure to disclose possible links to Russia, following new allegations in the New York Times.
As Trump prepares to deliver a major foreign policy speech on Monday, the Times revealed new details about his campaign manager’s dealings in Ukraine.
The report said that Paul Manafort’s name appeared 22 times in handwritten ledgers that listed a total of $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments from a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine between 2007 and 2012.
It is not known whether Manafort ever received the payments, but investigators from Ukraine’s new National Anti-Corruption Bureau believe they were part of “an illegal off-the-books system whose recipients also included election officials.”
Manafort’s attorney said his clinent had not received any such payments and called the allegations “suspicions, and probably heavily politically tinged ones.”
The report said Manafort and his business advised former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who was ousted in 2014 following bloody riots and street protests.
Moscow and the pro-Western government in Kiev have been in bitter conflict ever since.
Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula of Crimea voted to rejoin the Russian Federation in a referendum in March 2014. The move angered the West which branded it as an annexation of the territory by Moscow.
The campaign of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton responded to the story by insisting that Trump should answer questions about his pro-Russian policy stances.
"Donald Trump has a responsibility to disclose campaign chair Paul Manafort's and all other campaign employees' and advisers' ties to Russian or pro-Kremlin entities, including whether any of Trump's employees or advisers are currently representing and or being paid by them," Clinton's campaign manager Robby Mook said.
Mook also referred to Russian hackers accused of being behind a security breach that targeted key Democratic Party organizations this year.
After the leaks, Trump came under harsh criticism for apparently inviting Russia to hack into Clinton’s email account and find the thousands of emails missing from her personal server she used as secretary of state.
The Democrats have long accused the Kremlin of attempting to influence the US elections in favor of Trump.
The Clinton campaign released a video earlier this month, raising questions about Trump’s alleged ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The campaign video began with an onscreen text that read: “We don't know why Trump praises Putin,” before showing footage of the New York businessman describing the Russian head of state as a “strong leader.”
Trump has firmly denied any ties to Russia and its president.