Star witness Rick Gates to testify for third day in Manafort trial

Hannah Rogers
August 8, 2018

Gates also admitted in the Eastern District of Virginia courtroom to an extramarital affair 10 years ago and keeping an apartment in London, saying he falsified hundreds of thousands of dollars in expense reports because "I was living beyond my means".

Manafort's lawyer suggested that the affair - which included a London pad, first-class plane trips and luxury hotels - cost up to $3 million.

Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort had 15 undisclosed foreign accounts and spent years hiding millions of dollars to evade tax, his former deputy has claimed.

Prosecutors summoned Gates to give jurors the first-hand account of a co-conspirator they say helped Manafort carry out an elaborate offshore tax-evasion and bank fraud scheme. "WTF", Manafort wrote to Gates in an email using a common shorthand to show exasperation after learning his projected tax payment for 2014.

On Tuesday, Gates was forced to answer questions about past infidelity, his embezzlement and what Manafort had directed him to do while in his employment.

Manafort's defense team's primary strategy has been to pin much of the blame for financial crimes on Gates, and some observers felt Downing made some headway toward that goal on Tuesday. Cindy Laporta, one of the accountants, also testified that Manafort and Gates had used phony loan documents to improperly reduce Manafort's income and lower his tax bill. However, Gates also said the agents did not ask about tax returns and "the majority of the Cypriot accounts were closed" at the stage.

Gates (46) admitted he had embezzled from other employers; he had volunteered the information once he began cooperating.

He also made clear he was testifying against Mr Manafort in the hopes of receiving a lesser prison sentence, having pleaded guilty as part of a deal with special counsel Robert Mueller.

"I am here to tell the truth and to take responsibility for my actions".

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During the first two days of his testimony, Gates admitted to shielding millions of dollars in over a dozen offshore accounts from United States tax collections - all at Manafort's direction.

Rick Gates has finished his testimony in the financial fraud trial of his former boss, Paul Manafort, after one last effort by defense lawyers to erode his credibility.

Prosecutor Greg Andres pointed out he had created a "loan forgiveness letter between Mr. Manafort and Mr. Manafort".

The veteran Republican operative is not on trial for anything he did while serving for three months in 2016 as chairman of Trump's presidential campaign.

More recently, after the launch of the Mueller investigation but before his plea bargain, Gates lied to the FBI about a meeting between Manafort and an unnamed US Congressman regarding a "specific issue".

In 2015 and 2016, Gates said, Manafort "requested a team of people to pull together" documents to apply for bank loans in order to keep pace with payments to maintain his luxurious lifestyle. Gates testified that he and Manafort knew they were committing crimes for years, saying they had stashed money in foreign bank accounts and falsified bank loan documents.

Prosecutors had braced for the tough questioning by getting Gates to come clean about his own crimes. He frequently used the phrases "It's possible" and "I don't recall" as Downing challenged him about inconsistencies in testimony he gave to the special counsel's office.

In October 2016, for instance, Gates sent Manafort DMP's profit and loss statement (P&L) from January 1 through June 30 of that year, emails introduced in court Tuesday show. 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.

Manafort to Gates in 2011, telling him to "proceed" with secret foreign wire transfers.

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