Published: Wed, August 08, 2018
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

War Of Credibility Over Rick Gates Continues In Paul Manafort Fraud Trial

War Of Credibility Over Rick Gates Continues In Paul Manafort Fraud Trial

Rick Gates testified that he stole money from former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and committed an array of crimes with his former boss.

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 testified that he engaged in an extensive criminal conspiracy with Manafort that lasted seven years and included lying to the Internal Revenue Service to avoid paying taxes and providing false documents to banks to obtains millions of dollars in loans. He's expected to go for at least another hour in questioning with Manafort's attorney's.

Mr Andres asked Gates whether he understood that his lies and omissions were illegal. That could be limited by ground rules both sides agreed to before the trial, including that Manafort's team must not assert that the special counsel's office had a political motivation.

He has already admitted embezzling some funds from Manafort.

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

Manafort and Gates were the first two people indicted in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into potential ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

The topic came up as Kevin Downing, Manafort's defense attorney, hammered away at Gates' admitted habit of filing doctored expense reports in an attempt to paint Gates as self-motivated and untrustworthy.

At first, Gates merely noted that in March 2016 Manafort hired him to work for "one of the presidential candidates".

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"Yes, because I'm here to tell the truth and take responsibility for my actions", Gates said. "I'm not very patient, so don't try my patience", Ellis said.

Gates struck a deal with special counsel Robert Mueller in February, pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The 46-year-old former political consultant told jurors how Manafort asked for tickets to Trump's inauguration so he could give them to a banker involved in approving a loan at the center of his financial fraud trial. The case has little to do with either man's work for the Trump campaign, which has only tangentially figured in the trial.

Downing repeatedly referred to Gates' extramarital affair with a woman in London - for whom he paid for a flat - as his "secret life".

A clothier said he sold Manafort more than $900,000 in suits, a bookkeeper says she helped disguise foreign income as a loan to reduce Manafort's tax burden and, on Wednesday, an Federal Bureau of Investigation forensic account said Manafort hid more than 30 offshore accounts in three types of currencies from the IRS. However, Gates also said the agents did not ask about tax returns and "the majority of the Cypriot accounts were closed" at the stage. Downing pressed him on the specifics of their business relationship: which payments to Gates were authorised and which were not.

Manafort is the first person to be tried on charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election. "We need to discuss Steve Calk for Sec (retary) of the Army", Manafort wrote to Gates in an email on November 24, 2016.

The tough questioning of Gates came after he spent hours telling jurors how he disguised millions of dollars in foreign income as loans in order to lower Manafort's tax bill.

Gates said Monday that over the years, Manafort directed him to make payments through wire transfers. But Trump has shown interest in the proceedings, tweeting support for Manafort and suggesting he has been treated worse than gangster Al Capone.

And Gates faced fraud charges from the special counsel after it discovered he had written a letter to a Swiss movie production company falsely claiming that his own production company was investing in a film project by his friend, Steve Brown.

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