Gates Testifies He Helped Manafort Fudge Info To Obtain Loans
Aug 08, 2018, 04:39
From 2007 to 2016, they funneled millions of dollars into the accounts, which Gates said Manafort used to duck roughly $15 million in taxes.
Manafort's lawyers are expected to use the theft to try to undermine Gates' credibility as a witness.
"In Cyprus, they were documented as loans".
Rick Gates has been regarded as a crucial witness for the government ever since he pleaded guilty this year to two felony charges and agreed to cooperate in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.
He said that Manafort knew it was illegal not to report his foreign bank accounts to the Treasury Department but asked Gates to help him deceive his accountants so he could hide income and pay less in taxes.
The witness also testified that he had helped the defendant file false tax returns, and had concealed 15 foreign accounts from the USA government.
At one point Gates, still without meeting Manafort's eye, testified that his former boss is "probably one of the most politically brilliant strategists I've ever worked with".
Week 2 opened with high drama as Gates took the stand as the prosecution's star witness, and the judge continued to scold prosecutors for not hewing as closely to the script as he'd like.
Gates already pleaded guilty in February to one count of conspiracy against the United States and another count of making false statements to federal investigators.
As Gates testified in a calm, dispassionate way about the crimes he says he and Manafort committed together (as well as crimes he says Manafort didn't know about, including embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from him), Manafort appeared to be looking directly at his former colleague.
He has also sought to blame Mr Gates for the crimes.
Trump hasn't tweeted about Manafort since the first day of the trial last week, and the trial itself is not about the work Manafort did on the campaign.
Andres said he was entitled to show the jury why Manafort was getting tens of millions of dollars in payments.
What's Gates telling the court?
Originally charged as a co-conspirator, he acknowledged in court on Monday he was co-operating with the prosecution in the hope of leniency. Those benefactors who wired money into Manafort's Cyprus accounts included Rinat Akhmetov, Sergei Lyovochkin and Borys Kolesnikov, as well as Sergei Tihipko, a former government official who ran for president of Ukraine in 2010, Gates said.
In his testimony, Gates said, "I was the one who helped organize the paperwork". He also admitted to concealing millions of dollars in foreign bank accounts on Manafort's behalf and to falsifying documents to help his former boss obtain millions of dollars more in bank loans.
He was asked by Uzo Asonye, the prosecutor: 'Were you involved in any criminal activity with Mr Manafort?' He replied: 'Yes'.
Gates' testimony began on Monday and will likely continue into Tuesday, when Manafort's defense attorneys will cross-examine him.
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Prosecutors preparing witnesses for the upcoming trial of President Donald Trump's one-time campaign chairman Paul J. Manafort's lawyer Thomas Zehnle said his client "plac [ed] his trust in the wrong person", that person being Gates.
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