Ukraine willing to 'provide the information we have' on Trump campaign aide, says Ukraine PM

Ukraine's prime minister says U.S. authorities have not approached his government in the investigation related to Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's campaign chairman. But Volodymyr Groysman says his government is willing to provide whatever information Washington might request.

Anti-corruption activists urge Ukrainian government to pursue former Trump campaign chair

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman in his office on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday. Groysman told CBC News that his government is willing to provide whatever information Washington requests as the special counsel investigates alleged Russian collusion in last year's election. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

The Ukrainian government is prepared to open its files to U.S. authorities investigating President Donald Trump's recently indicted former campaign manager, says Ukraine's prime minister.

Volodymyr Groysman, in an exclusive interview with CBC News, sought to distance his administration from the stream of corruption allegations involving Paul Manafort and his associate, Rick Gates. Groysman was in Ottawa on Tuesday meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Manafort and Gates were charged Monday with the laundering of $21 million US through a tangled web of offshore companies and American real estate deals.

They were indicted under U.S. law with concealing the origin of their money and failing to register while lobbying for a foreign government.

Groysman said his government has not been contacted by special counsel Robert Mueller's office or U.S. law enforcement.

"We haven't received any requests for information in this regard, but if we receive a request we will, of course, provide the information we have," Groysman said.

Mueller is investigating alleged Russian interference in last year's U.S. presidential election.

He said he has no inside knowledge of the case beyond what he has read in the media, and said the allegations relate to Manafort's time as an adviser to the country's former, pro-Kremlin president.

"The incident that you mentioned was related to the Yanukovych regime," said Groysman, referring to former president Viktor Yanukovych, who fled the country after he was ousted in early 2014.

"My government and our term in office have absolutely no relations to this scandal."

Anti-corruption activists in Ukraine have applauded Manafort's arrest and told the New York Times on Tuesday that it is a vindication of their efforts to expose shady campaign financing deals in that country during that era.

Groysman warns of Russia 'propaganda'

Asked if no one in the current Ukrainian administration or civil society would shed a tear over the indictments, Groysman said: "I think that's true."

Since becoming prime minister last year, Groysman has been at the forefront of attempts at economic reform. He has said it bothers him to see his country mentioned once again in the same sentence as corruption.

He dismissed many of the accusations and stories as Moscow-backed propaganda.

"This information is unbalanced," Groysman said. "It is biased and we believe Russia invests a lot of its resources and money into propaganda as a tool of hybrid warfare against Ukraine in particular. Not all information in the world about Ukraine is true to the fact."

The anti-corruption activists in Kyiv are urging the Ukrainian government to pursue charges against Manafort in their country.

Groysman did not address that point in the interview with CBC News, which took place immediately following his meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

He said he spoke with Trudeau about Canada using its chairmanship of the G7 to focus world attention on Ukraine, its attempts at economic reform and the ongoing conflict by Russian-backed separatists in the eastern portion of the country.

"We need support for the [economic] transition that has been taking place in Ukraine over the last year," he said. "It has been a difficult road. The position of G7 countries, the democratic countries is very important."


Murray Brewster

Senior reporter, defence and security

Murray Brewster is senior defence writer for CBC News, based in Ottawa. He has covered the Canadian military and foreign policy from Parliament Hill for over a decade. Among other assignments, he spent a total of 15 months on the ground covering the Afghan war for The Canadian Press. Prior to that, he covered defence issues and politics for CP in Nova Scotia for 11 years and was bureau chief for Standard Broadcast News in Ottawa.