Tony is the brother of former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
According to NBC, sources said a fact-finding mission about Manafort and his role has led to a criminal inquiry into whether the Podesta Group violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
FARA's requirements also encompass lobbing firms who do work on behalf of a political party, and require a disclosure form be filed with the Justice Department. Through that organization, Manafort hired the Podesta Group and Mercury LLC to do public relations and lobbying work aimed at shielding Yanukovych from global condemnation for actions such as jailing political rivals.
He said it's "crazy" that Trump associates are being investigated for their alleged ties to Russian Federation, as opposed to the Clinton Foundation's role in the Uranium One deal or the Podesta Group doing representational work for Russia's neighbor.
Manafort served as chairman of President Donald Trump's electoral campaign between March and August 2016, and resigned shortly after media reports about his lobbying efforts in Ukraine. In its filing, the Podesta claimed the Centre's executive director had provided his firm with written certification that "none of the activities of the Centre are directly or indirectly supervised, directed, controlled, financed, or subsidized in whole or in major part by a government of a foreign country or a foreign political party". In 2012, the firm disclosed 32 meetings, emails, and other communications it had with the State Department, at a time when Secretary of State Hillary Çlinton called the upcoming Ukrainian election "an important bellwether" to the country's commitment to democratic institutions.
The investigation stems from undisclosed payments made to a pro-Ukraine nonprofit.
The ECMU was reportedly backed by the Party of Regions, the pro-Russian and oligarch-funded Ukrainian political party for which Manafort worked as a consultant, and which paid his firm millions.
According to a statement the firm provided NBC, it is 'cooperating fully with the special counsel's office and has taken every possible step to provide documentation that confirms timely compliance. "In all of our client engagements, the Podesta Group conducts due diligence and consults with appropriate legal experts to ensure compliance with disclosure regulations at all times - and we did so in this case".