Paul Manafort says Ecuador's president asked him about Julian Assange

US President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort

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. 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.

Manafort's trip to Ecuador and what he discussed regarding Assange, has become a subject of speculation in recent weeks. 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 President of Ecuador spoke with Paul Manafort about his desire to remove Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, a Manafort spokesperson confirmed Monday. However, the President and his aides rather quickly turned the conversation to how to remove the burden of responsibility for the granting of asylum to Assange in the Embassy in London.

Several days after the last meeting Mr Manafort held in Quito, Robert Mueller was announced as a special advisor in charge of a probe to investigate the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections.

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A deal between Ecuador and China would likely have been quite lucrative for Manafort, who was styling himself as an worldwide power broker during his mid-2017 meeting with Moreno.

The WikiLeaks founder has been confined in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012 when he was granted asylum there to avoid extradition to Sweden over rape allegations and persecution in the United States for publication of leaked USA docs.

Read the full Times report here. Manafort's spokesperson also specified that "there was no mention of Russian Federation at the meeting' with the Ecuadorian president". The U.K., however, scuttled that plan, informing Ecuador that Assange would be arrested, should he ever leave the embassy.

WikiLeaks has come under scrutiny for its 2016 publication of emails stolen from Democratic servers by Russian intelligence agents, which contained damaging information about Hillary Clinton, Trump's rival during the 2016 presidential election.

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