Manafort trial: Gates describes funneling millions through Cyprus accounts

Manafort trial: Gates describes funneling millions through Cyprus accounts

The trial of Paul Manafort resumes Monday afternoon with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's prosecutors expected to focus less on the lifestyle of the former Trump campaign chairman and more on the financial machinations underpinning the bank fraud and tax charges. Gates pleaded guilty this year to felony charges and agreed to co-operate in an investigation into possible ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

He testified that "at Mr. Manafort's direction", he knowingly and deliberately violated U.S. tax law by failing to disclose assets held in 15 foreign bank accounts belonging to both him and Manafort to federal authorities.

Gates laid responsibility squarely at Manafort's feet, bolstering the prosecution's case that Manafort was in full control of his finances and directing Gates' actions.

Critical testimony expected at the trial of President Trump's former campaign chair as Manafort's right-hand man set to take the stand as early as Monday; reaction and analysis from James Trusty, former Justice Department prosecutor.

Gates admitted in court that he embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort, and that he knowingly committed crimes at the behest of his former partner.

Gates said that Manafort told him to get in touch with Philip Ayliff, one of Manafort's tax accountants, but Gates said he could only reach Cindy LaPorta, another accountant who received immunity to testify last week.

Throughout his testimony, Mr Gates largely avoided making eye contact with Mr Manafort, who appeared to be watching him.

"At Mr. Manafort's request, at different points in the year, we did not disclose the foreign bank accounts", Gates said.

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Venezuela has dealt with widespread economic issues, including inflation, poverty, rising crime and hunger, in recent years. They were piloted aircraft remotely and designed for industrial work and can withstand heavy loads.

Gates said he repeatedly lied to hide the bank accounts and, at Manafort's direction, he would classify money that came in as either a loan or income to reduce Manafort's tax burden.

While Mueller's charge is investigating the nature and extent of the Russian government's alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election, he was presented a broad mandate by then-Acting, now-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to investigate "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation". His case is the first to go to trial arising from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

He testified about a complex scheme in which earnings from Manafort's political work in Ukraine would be paid by Ukrainian businessmen using companies in Cyprus to other Cyprus-based companies controlled by Manafort.

Rick Gates will continue his testimony today. Similar to prior witnesses, Laporta testified that Gates and Manafort were in lockstep but that Manafort was in charge.

Gates testified that Manafort told him to report overseas income as loans to lower Manafort's taxable income, supporting the testimony of his accountant.

Gates also said he lied in a lawsuit deposition years ago, after Manafort "asked me not to include" certain things in the deposition. Laporta testified that she saw no evidence that the loan was ever repaid. But while Laporta acknowledged that she regularly communicated with Gates, she said she believed Manafort was in the know.

"Were you engaged in criminal activity during your time working for Mr. Manafort?"

And if Manafort did indeed open those accounts, that inherently means he knew they existed - and that he failed to report them to his tax preparers.

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