Gates Testifies He Helped Manafort Fudge Info To Obtain Loans

Marsha Scott
August 8, 2018

Manafort's trial is the first trial associated with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Trump's ties to Russian Federation.

Gates and Manafort purposely lied to Manafort's accountants, telling them he had no foreign accounts or interests, Gates said.

That's but a drop in the ocean of the roughly $30 million prosecutors are claiming Manafort hid from the IRS.

Gates testified that he knowingly violated federal tax law by not disclosing 15 foreign bank accounts owned by him and Manafort to U.S. authorities.

Gates and Manafort have known each other for two decades and ran a multimillion-dollar political consulting business.

Laporta also said Manafort was copied on several emails she sent to Gates regarding her concerns - but she did not consider calling Manafort directly because it appeared he was largely aware of what was happening.

Later, when Yanukovych fell out of power and fled to Russian Federation, the business struggled and prosecutors say Manafort lied to banks to obtain loans to help maintain his life of luxury.

Those admissions are likely to become a focal point for Manafort's defence team when he is cross examined on Tuesday.

Gates said that Manafort told him to get in touch with Philip Ayliff, one of Manafort's tax accountants, but Gates said he could only reach Cindy LaPorta, another accountant who received immunity to testify last week.

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While Mueller's charge is investigating the nature and extent of the Russian government's alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election, he was presented a broad mandate by then-Acting, now-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to investigate "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation". Gates' admission, on his first day of testimony under a plea deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, is key to rebutting the prime counter-narrative that Manafort is trying to tell the jury: that.

Prosecutors say Manafort did lucrative political consulting work in Ukraine, and then kept much of the money he made in offshore accounts and companies.

"He indicated that the Ukrainian businessmen.had directed him to set up Cyprus accounts because the payments would be coming from Cyprus", Gates said when asked to explain the payment structure. As part of his plea agreement, he has cooperated with prosecutors and is testifying against Manafort. Kilimnik was indicted in the Mueller investigation in June.

Manafort, a flamboyant figure in Washington for decades, became known for his consulting and lobbying work for ethically questionable global leaders like Ukraine's Viktor Yanukovych.

Rick Gates, the US government's star witness in Manafort's trial on tax fraud and bank fraud charges, told a federal court jury in Alexandria, Virginia, that there were hundreds of emails showing Manafort approved payments out of the Cypriot accounts.

Prosecutors say this work resulted in earnings of around $60m (£46m) and that a "significant percentage" of this was omitted from Manafort's income tax returns. Gates was Manafort's partner in the consultancy.

Gates, who also served in a senior role in Trump's presidential campaign, said he repeatedly lied to hide the bank accounts and, at Manafort's direction, would classify money that came in as either a loan or income to reduce Manafort's tax burden.

During Manafort's trial, Greg D. Andres and other prosecutors have tried to illustrate the corrupt nature of the Ukrainian politicians and oligarchs Manafort worked with-and Judge T.S. Ellis has discouraged such testimony.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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