Published: Wed, August 08, 2018
World News | By Sandy Lane

Rick Gates testifies he committed crimes while working for Paul Manafort

Rick Gates testifies he committed crimes while working for Paul Manafort

He was asked by Uzo Asonye, the prosecutor: 'Were you involved in any criminal activity with Mr Manafort?' He replied: 'Yes'.

During opening arguments last week, the defense team made it clear they intend to blame Gates, who handled some day-to-day business operations for Manafort, for numerous alleged reporting deficiencies Manafort is charged with.

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

Gates' testimony began on Monday and will likely continue into Tuesday, when Manafort's defense attorneys will cross-examine him.

Gates also copped to inflating Manafort's income in doctored financial statements he provided to banks where Manafort was applying for loans once DMP's revenue stream from Ukraine dried up in 2014.

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Mr Manafort has pleaded not guilty to 18 counts of bank and tax fraud and failing to disclose foreign bank accounts.

"If at the time you learned Mr. Gates was embezzling millions of dollars from Mr. Manafort, would you have picked up the phone to Mr. Manafort?" Mueller is also investigating possible coordination between Trump campaign members and Russian officials in the election campaign, but the charges against Manafort do not address that.

He testified that "at Mr. Manafort's direction", he knowingly and deliberately violated USA tax law by failing to disclose assets held in 15 foreign bank accounts belonging to both him and Manafort to federal authorities. "In reality, it was basically money moving between accounts", Gates said, according to the Associated Press. Gates, who is facing five to 10 years in prison, testified Monday that as part of his plea deal he agreed to turn over evidence to the government and testify. Klimnik is a Russian-Ukrainian political consultant who was indicted in June on charges stemming from the Mueller probe.

"When income came into the company, Mr. Manafort directed whether it would be treated as income.or loans", Gates said.

Finally, before the court recessed for lunch, Gates said that he helped Manafort convert a $1.5 million 2012 loan from Peranova Holdings into income while applying for a loan in 2016. The prosecution, however, has maintained that while Gates committed embezzlement, that doesn't make Manafort any less guilty of the crimes he's accused of.

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Questioned by prosecutors earlier on Tuesday, Gates testified that Manafort instructed him not to tell their firm's bookkeeper about payments from accounts in Cyprus that held millions of dollars in earnings from consulting work for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine.

"Yes", Laporta said, "of course" she would call Manafort if she suspected Gates was enriching himself with Manafort's money.

On Monday, Judge T.S. Ellis repeatedly clashed with prosecutors about the relevance of such testimony and once again urged them to speed things along.

The trial opened last week with a display of Manafort's opulent lifestyle, then progressed into testimony about what prosecutors say were years of financial deception. Testifying under immunity, she was the first witness to admit she knew accounting manoeuvres Manafort and Gates requested of her were wrong and could be crimes.

Laporta thought that was odd, so she asked Gates for information about the $2.4 million Manafort was supposedly owed.

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"In most instances it was clear Mr. Manafort knew what was going on", Laporta said. It is alleged that Manafort earned millions of dollars, which he neglected to declare to the authorities.

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