Assange is wanted by both US and British authorities, making his refuge at the London embassy a sticking point between Ecuador and the two world powers.
In May 2017, Paul Manafort met with then-incoming Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno to broker a deal that involved Chinese investment in Ecuador's power system and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, The New York Times reported.
His talks with Ecuador ended without any deals.
Former Donald Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort addressed the possible handover to the USA of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in mid-May 2017, with then president-elect of Ecuador Lenín Moreno, according to The New York Times. According to the NYT, Manafort suggested he could broker the deal.
In response to the development, Jason Maloni, a spokesman for Manafort, said that it was Moreno who broached the issue of Assange and "his desire to remove Julian Assange from Ecuador's embassy".
He is now in jail in Alexandria, Virginia.
There was no suggestion that Manafort was working with the Trump administration or briefing administration officials during the visit, according to The Times. Manafort's spokesperson also specified that "there was no mention of Russian Federation at the meeting' with the Ecuadorian president". The Times said there was no indication that Trump or other administration officials were briefed by Manafort on the negotiations, but noted the incident highlighted Manafort's role as an worldwide influence broker hoping to cash in on his ties with Trump. 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.
Mr Assange has now become a pawn in President Moreno's ongoing battle against his predecessor Rafael Correa - who has fled into exile in Belgium since the Ecuadorian judiciary is pursuing 13 investigations against him.
Assange and Wikileaks are also players in the investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election.