Gates testifies millions of dollars moved through shell companies, accounts in Cyprus
08 August, 2018, 00:37 | Author: Gregory Stephens
Paul Manafort's former business partner Rick Gates testified today that he committed crimes with Manafort. Gates pleaded guilty this year to felony charges and agreed to co-operate in an investigation into possible ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.
Gates also testified that he embezzled "several hundred thousand" dollars from Manafort by submitting false expense reports that were paid out of some of the undisclosed foreign bank accounts in Cyprus.
Manafort's defense team aimed to discredit Gates as a liar and an embezzler who falsified Manafort's finances while trying to cover up his own crimes.
He testified that "at Mr. Manafort's direction", he knowingly and deliberately violated United States tax law by failing to disclose assets held in 15 foreign bank accounts belonging to both him and Manafort to federal authorities. They were the first two people indicted by Mueller's grand jury.
Rick Gates, a former campaign official for U.S. President Donald Trump, departs U.S. District Court after he and Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort attended a hearing in the first charges stemming from a special counsel investigation of possible Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election in Washington, U.S., October 30, 2017.
The charges largely predate Manafort's five months on the Trump campaign but were the first to go to trial arising from the special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 USA election.
The testimony came after Gates pleaded guilty in February and signed a plea deal to testify against Manafort, his former partner at an global political consulting firm.
He has also sought to blame Mr Gates for the crimes. Both cases are connected to work Manafort and Gates did for the Ukrainian government.
When the trial broke for lunch Tuesday, Manafort looked back at his wife, sitting in the front row, smiled and winked at her, followed by a quick shake of his head, seeming to indicate he was unfazed or unbothered by the morning's testimony.
Critical testimony expected at the trial of President Trump's former campaign chair as Manafort's right-hand man set to take the stand as early as Monday; reaction and analysis from James Trusty, former Justice Department prosecutor.
Gates, who typically sports a beard but appeared in court clean-shaven, said he had conspired with Manafort to underreport Manafort's income on his tax returns and hide overseas accounts.
The prosecution did not cover much substantial ground Monday on its exhibit list with Gates before Judge T.S. Ellis III adjourned court for the day.
In questioning Laporta on Monday, a prosecutor asked the accountant about a $10 million loan purportedly received by Manafort from Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska in 2006.
During the testimony, Manafort did not stare Gates down as he did on Monday.
Aside from admitting to the false expense reports, Gates said he also created a fake letter to an investment company for a different colleague, Steve Brown.
He said that some of Manafort's income was disguised as loans from 15 shell companies that Manafort controlled, a lot of them in Cyprus.
Gates and Manafort were charged with a combined 32 counts of tax and bank fraud in February, after which Gates accepted a plea deal which included testifying against Manafort.
"In most instances, it was clear that Mr. Manafort was aware what was going on", she testified.
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