WASHINGTON – In mid-May 2017, Paul Manafort flew to Ecuador to pay its debts to a potentially lucrative new client, the new President, Lenin Moreno, under increasing pressure to settle debts and pay the rising legal bills.  Mr. Manafort mainly made the trip to see if he could negotiate a deal under which China would invest in the Ecuadorian energy system, possibly triggering a hefty commission on Mr Manafort.
However, the talks became a diplomatic fix between the United States and Ecuador: the fate of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
During at least two meetings with Mr Manafort, Mr Moreno and his staff discussed being liberated by Mr Assange, who was arrested at the Embassy of Ecuador, in London since 201
You said Mr. Manafort suggested that he help negotiate the transfer of Mr. Assange to the United States, which has long investigated Mr. Assange's disclosure of secret documents and later charged with him that has not been published yet.
Within days of Mr. Manafort's recent meeting in Quito, Robert S. Muller III was appointed as a Special Adviser to investigate Russia's interference in the 2016 election and related matters, and it quickly became clear that Mr. Manafort was the one in charge Fall was a primary goal. His talks with Ecuador ended without collusion.
There is no indication that Mr. Manafort has worked with President Trump or any other government officials on his talks with the Ecuadorians about Mr. Assange or even informed them.
There is some indication that his brief involvement in the talks was due to concerns about the role of Mr Assange and WikiLeaks in facilitating Russia's efforts to assist Mr Trump in the 2016 presidential election, or to explore possible coordination between Mr Assange motivated and the colleagues of Trump, who have become a focal point for the team of Mr. Müller.
Mr. Manafort and WikiLeaks have denied a recent report in The Guardian stating that Mr. Manafort visited Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2013, 2015, and 2016.
But the revelations about Mr. Manafort's discussions in 2017 Mr. Assange in Quito reiterates how his role as international influence broker overlaps with the issues surrounding the Trump campaign.
And the episode shows how Mr. Manpfort tried to make money with his action after Trump's election. Short term as chairman of Trump's election campaign, even as the investigators got closer.
The Ecuadorians continued to investigate the possibility of Chinese investment, but with the United States Department of Justice and the intelligence services who stepped up their efforts on behalf of Mr Assange and WikiLeaks, Mr Moreno's team was increasingly seeking to solve his Assange problem by turning to Russia.
In the months following Mr. Moreno's inauguration, the Ecuadorian government acceded The government granted Mr. Assange citizenship and secretly pursued a plan to provide him with a diplomatic post in Russia to release him from custody in the London To liberate the embassy. (This plan was eventually dropped in the face of opposition from British authorities who said they would arrest Mr Assange if he left the embassy.)
Mr Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni said it was Lord. Moreno – not Mr. Manafort – who addressed Mr. Assange's topic and "his desire to remove Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy." Mr. Manafort "listened but made no promises, as this was irrelevant to the purpose of the meeting," he said. Mr. Maloni added, "At the meeting, no mention was made of Russia."
Late last year, Mr Müller's team accused Mr Manafort of a series of lobbying, money laundering and tax violations related to his advisory work on Russia-focused interests in Ukraine prior to the 2016 elections. Mr Manafort was convicted and convicted of some crimes guilty under an agreement to cooperate with prosecutors. The prosecution, however, said last week he violated the deal by repeatedly lied to her. Mr. Manafort remains in solitary confinement at a state-owned Alexandran Virginia branch, waiting for a judge to set a date for the conviction.
Mr. Manafort and his associates have consistently confirmed the consistency of his overseas advisory work confirming United States interests, though his clients and their initiatives often provoked Washington's wrath.
The trip to Ecuador was part of a world tour that was the last breath of Mr. Manafort's once lucrative career.
Mr. Manafort suggested officials from a number of governments facing a variety of challenges, from Puerto Rico to Ecuador to Iraqi Kurdistan to the United Arab Emirates. Mr. Manafort, who served on the Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation in the Reagan administration, introduced himself as a liaison with the new Trump administration and, in some cases, as a broker in arranging investment from a state-affiliated fund. owned by China Development Bank.
In Quito, he told Mr. Moreno's team that he could arrange a large sum of money from the Chinese fund to the Ecuadorian utility and solve possible concerns of the Trump administration over such an investment. according to the persons who were involved in the organization of the meetings.
The following week after the trip from Quito, Mr. Manafort traveled to Hong Kong to meet with representatives of the China Development Bank Fund to discuss the potential investments in Ecuador and a proposal from Mr. Manafort for purchase the bonds of Puerto Rico, possibly in return for the possession of the power plant of the island.
In both cases Mr. Manafort as The Chinese could be sure that despite the concerns expressed by Mr. Trump against China, he was able to gain support from Washington.
The brokerage of an agreement to bring Assange to the United States could have been even more complicated. Not only was Mr Assange not charged by Mr Manafort at the time of the trip, but the work of Mr Assange was and is a particularly difficult matter for Mr Trump and his team.
Trump and his allies had acclaimed WikiLeaks during the campaign, releasing numerous embarrassing internal emails and documents stolen from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign leader. However, since then, the United States intelligence agencies and Mr Müller's team have alleged that the documents were stolen by Russian government agents, 12 of which were tried by Mr Müller.
Assange was prosecuted by Swedish prosecutors for a 2010 rape charge, which was dropped last year. The Ecuadorian embassy in London granted him asylum in the summer of 2012. This was under the predecessor of Mr. Moreno, Rafael Correa, whose political identity was based in part on his antagonism to the United States.
During his last term as President Correa The Ecuadorian government wrote a letter repeating its demands to Britain to accept Mr Assange's asylum status. The letter states that US officials have "no doubt about their intent to prosecute Mr. Assange with the aim of punishing him for alleged crimes".
Moreno signaled during his campaign that he wants to wash Mr. Assange's hands. And in December, Ecuador started a plan to relocate Mr. Assange to Russia as a diplomat, forcing him to become an Ecuadorian citizen. I wanted to become a citizen because "I have been welcoming here for five years and I feel virtually Ecuadorian." it says in a written summary of the meeting.
Within 10 days, Mr. Assange obtained citizenship documents issued by Paola Vintimilla, an Ecuadorian lawyer, who objected to the presence of Mr. Assange in the embassy. However, a later attempt to grant Mr Assange diplomatic status and the ensuing immunity was rejected by the British Government.