Mercury Public Affairs has been identified by NBC News as one of the lobbying groups named in the indictment of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his longtime deputy Richard Gates.
Mercury, referred to as "Company A" in the indictment document, according to the network, was one of two firms chosen by Manafort and Gates to promote pro-Russian interests five years ago. The firm lobbied on behalf of the Ukrainian government, the pro-Russia Party of Regions, and its leader beginning in 2012.
The other firm referred to is lobbying powerhouse Podesta Group, sources told NBC News. Its founder, Tony Podesta, stepped down on Monday after the firm came under scrutiny as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian involvement in the 2016 election.
The two firms lobbied Congress on "Ukraine sanctions, the validity of Ukraine elections, and the propriety of [Party of Regions leader] Viktor Yanukovych's imprisoning his presidential rival, Yulia Tymoshenko," according to the indictment. It alleged the firms were paid more than $2 million between 2012 and 2014 from Manafort’s offshore accounts.
The work was not disclosed in Foreign Agents Registration Act filings, according to the documents. Manafort and Gates were accused of routing the lobbying work through the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, an NGO that was in essence run by the government of Ukraine and Party of Regions, to avoid filing the federal documents.
Mercury is a subsidiary of Omnicom Public Relations Group, which declined to comment on the matter. A Mercury representative did not immediately respond to requests for comment.