Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Manafort tried to broker deal over Assange's handover to US

Ecuadorian President talked with Manafort about removing Assange from embassy Former Trump Aide Discussed Assange’s Handover to US With Ecuador – Reports
Jeannette Daniel | 06 December, 2018, 20:54

The terms of his stay were tightened when a new Ecuadorian president was elected in 2017.

In at least two meetings with Manafort, Ecuadorian Presidenr Lenin Moreno and his aides discussed their desire to rid themselves of Assange, who has been holed up in the country's Embassy in London since 2012, in exchange for concessions like debt relief from the U.S., informed sources told The Times.

It is noted that Manafort was initially during a meeting with Moreno in Quito to discuss the draft agreement, which provided for investment of Chinese business in the energy system of Ecuador. However, during the meeting, the topic of the WikiLeaks' founder's extradition came up. During discussions, Moreno and his aides reportedly expressed their desire for Assange to leave the embassy, where he has been holed up since 2012, in exchange for US debt relief, according to the report. According to the NYT, Manafort suggested he could broker the deal.

"When Mr. Manafort met with President Moreno of Ecuador to discuss the China Development Fund, the president raised with Mr. Manafort his desire to remove Julian Assange from Ecuador's Embassy", Jason Maloni, a Manafort spokesman, told CNN in a statement.

More news: Terror attack kills 3 in southeastern port city

However, the talks ended with nothing as several days later Robert S. Mueller was appointed special counsel to probe alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 United States election. Last week, The Guardian reported Manafort met with Assange at the Ecuadorean embassy in London in 2013, 2015 and 2016, though the Times said there is no evidence that Manafort's talks with Ecuador were motivated by WikiLeaks' role in Russian interference in the 2016 election.

He is now in jail in Alexandria, Virginia. The story was branded "totally false and deliberately libellous" by Manafort, while Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange is threatening to sue the British outlet over a "fabricated" report.

The former head of trump's staff held a final meeting with Moreno a few days after the appointment of Robert Mueller spectaculorum for investigation of Russia's intervention in USA elections 2016.

The subject of Assange's asylum status at Ecuador's London Embassy came up on a trip Manafort made to Quito in May 2017, three sources told the Times.

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