Gates says he helped Manafort hide payments

08 August, 2018, 21:46 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin
  • Paul Manafort's associate says 'hundreds' of emails prove former Trump campaign chief directed fraud

Gates, who testified Monday and returned to the witness stand Tuesday, detailed years of alleged lawbreaking at Manafort's political firm and admitted to stealing money from secret overseas bank accounts.

Gates was indicted alongside Manafort in October, but he later pleaded guilty to lesser charges of conspiracy against the USA and lying to the FBI as part of a deal with federal prosecutors.

Gates proved essential to prosecutors' attempt to tie Manafort to the dozens of foreign bank accounts in Cyprus, the United Kingdom, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines where he allegedly hid millions of dollars of taxable income from the IRS for almost a decade.

Although we've seen a lot of the numbers throughout the trial, Tuesday offered the best glimpse into just how anxious Manafort was about paying bills, specifically his tax bill.

Earlier on Tuesday, the prosecution had continued to question Gates, who described how millions of dollars were allegedly funnelled from entities controlled by Ukrainian businessmen into Manafort's shell companies in Cyprus.

Gates explained that Manafort's financial difficulties worsened in 2014, when Viktor Yanukovych was no longer in power and the Party of Regions disintegrated. Gates said he was guilty, having wired money from Cyprus through the United Kingdom to the U.S. without paying taxes on it for himself. Under the deal, he admitted to helping Manafort evade taxes, violate USA lobbying laws, and hide foreign bank accounts.

Gates said he did, but the defense lawyer wasn't satisfied.

Rick Gates leaves federal court in Washington, Feb. 23, 2018. He scoffed at the idea that Gates had repented for his actions, noting that prosecutors have said they won't oppose his bid for probation and getting him to acknowledge he had not repaid the money he had taken from Manafort.

"Yes, this is approved", Manafort responded. Manafort would ask him to make payments to various vendors or bank accounts in the US and overseas.

Manafort to Gates in 2015, "WTF?"

"There are hundreds of these [emails]", Gates said. Both sides agreed ahead of time to limit discussion of the campaign so as not to prejudice the jury, though they had agreed to allow testimony about the overlap of a bank loan with Manafort's role in the campaign. "I did, to one count, your honour", he said. Prosecutors allege that the bank lent Manafort money based on fraudulent documents, and that Calk was named an adviser to the campaign and sought the Army post as part of a quid pro quo.

In other testimony, Gates recounted how he converted a PDF of a profit-and-loss statement to a Microsoft Word document so he could doctor it to inflate the business' income.

"The circles are now squared", Gates told Manafort in 2016.

Defense lawyer Kevin Downing began his cross-examination of longtime Manafort deputy Rick Gates by pressing him on his own lies to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigators, an extramarital affair and hundreds of thousands of dollars he admitted to embezzling from his former boss.

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For now, the defense team has largely left in tact the possibility that Manafort engaged in the crimes alongside Gates.

"After all the lies you've told and the fraud you've committed, you expect this jury to believe you?" Mr Downing asked Gates.

"I don't recall", Gates replied.

"I did it as a favor to Mr".

Gates did not raise his voice or appear to lose his cool through the first two hours of cross-examination Tuesday.

Gates also acknowledged creating a fraudulent letter for movie producer and political operative Steven Brown, who pleaded guilty in April to participating in a scheme that defrauded investors of over $9.5 million involving false documents.

Gates repeatedly challenged Downing's characterization of certain events with astonishingly self-incriminating frankness.

On Wednesday, Downing sought to counter earlier testimony that Manafort had encouraged Gates to deceive authorities by getting Gates to acknowledge that Manafort told him to be truthful about offshore shell companies and bank accounts during a 2014 interview with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

With a nod to linguistic differences for what Americans refer to as an apartment, Downing pressed: "As part of your secret life did you maintain a flat - is that what they call it? - in London?" His wife is "aware of" the affair and knew about the account where he sent money he embezzled from Manafort, he said.

"What difference does it make?"

"It was an embezzlement from Mr. Manafort", he said, with mock finality.

"Objection", prosecutor Greg Andres yelled.

"I was, in essence, living beyond my means", he said. They made a mistake when they confirmed me.

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