Sunday, 19 August, 2018

Six bombshells from Rick Gates' testimony in the Paul Manafort trial

Paul Manafort's associate says 'hundreds' of emails prove former Trump campaign chief directed fraud Six bombshells from Rick Gates' testimony in the Paul Manafort trial
Ebony Burgess | 08 August, 2018, 20:28

Former President Donald Trump's aide Rick Gates returned to the court Wednesday to testify against his former boss, Paul Manafort, in special counsel Robert Mueller's federal tax trial against the former Trump campaign chairman.

Prosecutors had braced for the tough questioning by getting Gates to come clean about his own crimes. He also admitted to embezzling money from other employers in the past.

Rick Gates, the former business partner of Paul Manafort, testified Tuesday that he helped Manafort hide payments from offshore accounts.

"They were documented as loans, but in reality they were funds moving between the accounts".

Gates says Manafort also wanted to give the businessman a heads up about the FBI's interest in the offshore accounts as part of the US government's efforts to recover assets stolen under former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Mr Manafort's trial in Alexandria is the first to arise out the Mueller probe and marks a major public test of that investigation's credibility. Gates said the money in these accounts was earned from Manafort's political campaign work.

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. Manafort's trial is the first on charges brought by Mueller's office, who is also investigating whether Trump campaign members coordinated with Russian officials.

Gates, who is awaiting sentencing, told jurors that he embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort by filing false expense reports.

USA jobless rate drops to 3.9%. in July; 157000 new jobs created
Blue-collar jobs have grown sharply, with manufacturing adding 327,000 positions in the past year and construction adding 308,000. The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not reflect those of Berenberg Capital Markets, LLC .

The transfers would usually occur when Manafort made requests for Gates to initiate them-often through a list of to-be-sent wire transfers provided by Manafort to Gates via email.

Possible embezzlement of millions Manafort's attorneys went on the attack against Gates on Monday, alleging that Gates told accountants to falsify Manafort's tax returns because Gates was trying to cover up the fact that he had "embezzled millions of dollars" from their firm.

Gates, who had been on stand for more than seven hours by conclusion of Tuesday's testimony, is anticipated to be on stand for an additional hour more of cross-examination, according to Manafort's attorneys.

Downing accused Gates of lying on expense reports to make trips to London and around Europe. But Trump has shown interest in the proceedings, tweeting support for Manafort.

All three testified that Manafort and Gates failed to tell them about the foreign holdings in Cyprus. Gates testified that Manafort asked him to float Calk, who was on Trump's economic advisory council, for Secretary of the Army.

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. "WTF", Manafort wrote to Gates in an email using a common shorthand to show exasperation after learning his projected tax payment for 2014.

Gates converted the 2015 DMP P&L to a Word document for Manafort, but there were spacing, font, and other discrepancies between that copy and the original. Gates also fabricated a forgiveness letter for what he said was already a fake loan between Manafort's consulting company and a Cypriot entity he controlled. Regarding a trading company Manafort had started with a partner in 2011, he asked with deep scepticism: "You're asking the jury to believe Mr Manafort authorised another US$250,000 as a bonus?" When the trial broke for lunch, Manafort looked back at his wife, sitting in the front row, smiled and winked at her, followed by a quick shake of his head, seeming to indicate he was unfazed by the morning's testimony. In addition, he testified, he did not submit the required forms at Manafort's direction.

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