Star witness Rick Gates resumes testimony at Manafort fraud trial

Rick Gates leaves federal court in Washington. Paul Manafort’s trial opened this week with a display of his opulent lifestyle and testimony about what prosecutors say were years of financial deception. But the

As a sober Gates recited his testimony, Manafort reacted about the way you'd expect.

"In Cyprus, they were documented as loans".

Rick Gates, who also served on Trump's campaign team, pleaded guilty in February and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors under a deal that could lead to a reduced sentence.

Ellis said he doesn't see how the travel testimony "amounts to a hill of beans" in the prosecution of Manafort, who is charged with bank fraud, tax evasion and failure to report foreign bank accounts. Prosecutors allege he did not properly disclose his relations with foreign governments, and that he hid income in order to avoid his tax burden in the United States. Manafort then paid Gates out of Cryprus-based bank accounts illegally concealed from the U.S. government, Gates testified, according to CNN crime and justice reporter Shimon Prokupecz.

Prosecutors have sought to undercut this argument by repeatedly asking witnesses who dealt with Manafort and Gates about the dynamics of their relationship, trying to underscore that Manafort was the supervisor.

Paul Manafort's defense hinges on pinning the blame on Mr Gates, who they accuse of embezzling millions of dollars from Mr Manafort. Manafort, 69, meanwhile, is facing 18 felony charges that could carry a maximum of 30 years in prison. The charges are not related to Manafort's work with the Trump campaign.

Gates admitted in testimony on Friday that he had lied to Laporta, as well as other accountants and Manafort's bookkeeper.

The charges relate to Manafort's work for Ukraine's former pro-Kremlin president, Viktor Yanukovich.

Gates also told jurors that after the money from their Ukrainian political consulting work dried up in 2014, the two men tried to earn money from a new opposition party that was formed, but payments were slow to come.




On Monday, Prosecutors quickly got to the heart of the case.

Gates told jurors that he helped establish the offshore accounts for Manafort, and that Manafort had negotiated with Ukrainian oligarchs on how payments to the accounts would be made. Manafort ran the 2016 presidential campaign for then-candidate Donald Trump, but the crimes he is accused of were allegedly committed prior to his involvement with the election.

He has tweeted support for his former campaign manager, suggesting he has been treated worse than gangster Al Capone.

He said millions of dollars had been concealed in foreign bank accounts, listing shell companies he and Manafort set up in places including Cyprus and the UK.

In questioning Laporta on Monday, a prosecutor asked her about a $10 million (£7.72 million) loan purportedly received by Manafort from Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska in 2006.

He said Manafort asked for tickets to Trump's inauguration so he could give them to a banker involved in approving a loan at the centre of his financial fraud trial.

Gates spent much of his testimony Monday corroborating that version of events, but on Tuesday, Manafort's defense team will get a chance to paint a different picture.

But she said she was under the impression that Mr Manafort had been directing his deputies' actions and "knew what was going on".

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