Paul Manafort’s Accountant Testifies She Helped Alter Financial Documents

Paul Manafort’s Accountant Testifies She Helped Alter Financial Documents

Laporta said she later regretted her actions but at the time didn't want to risk losing a lucrative client. While reports typically reflected only income that had already been collected, Manafort requested she create a document to "reflect collection of income earned in Ukr of 2.4M that is to be collected". "You can't pick and chose what's a loan and what's income".

She said Mr Gates told her in a conference call the income level "was too high" and proposed reclassifying a portion of it as a loan.

Katzman described Manafort, who paid the firm almost $1 million over a five-year period for suits and other items, as a Top 5 client. She said Gates told her he was handling the documentation even though he knew the loans were phony.

Prosecutors also showed Washkuhn a March 2016 email that Gates had sent to a Banc of California executive in pursuit of a loan for Manafort.

"You believed it was false?"

But Ellis reminded prosecutors, "The government has to prove that [Manafort] knew what the requirement was and that he deliberately violated it".

"Let's move on, enough is enough", the judge said sternly, allowing the witness to describe the annual spending, but not the total amount over the five year period.

Kevin Downing, a defense attorney for Mr. Manafort, said he would need about an hour to cross-examen Ms. Laporta.

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Prosecutors are trying to rebut defense arguments that Manafort can't be responsible for financial fraud because he left the details of his spending to others. Earlier this year, he pleaded guilty to financial charges and lying to federal investigators, and agreed to cooperate with Mueller's investigators.

Manafort signed an agreement to account for that loan that was backdated, according to Laporta and an exhibit shown to the jury.

It also has pulled back the curtain on the man who steered Trump's election efforts for a time, including descriptions of Manafort's $15,000 jacket made of ostrich leather and the more than $6 million in cash he put toward real estate.

Greg Andres, a member of Mueller's team, confirmed on Thursday that the prosecution will call Gates as a witness, a day after another prosecutor suggested they might not.

Manafort faces tax and bank fraud charges stemming from his work for a pro-Russia politician in Ukraine. It's the first courtroom test of the work of special counsel Robert Mueller, who is tasked with looking into Russia's efforts to interfere with the US election and whether the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Moscow to sway voters.

But in this special extra for "Trump, Inc.", Andrea Bernstein of WNYC and Franklin Foer of The Atlantic, both of whom have reported extensively on Manafort in the past and are attending parts of the trial, dissect the first day along with WNYC's Ilya Marritz, producing insights and observations. It has also revealed how, when income from his Ukrainian political consulting work dried up, he struggled to pay his bills and, prosecutors say, began obtaining bank loans under false pretenses. In his brief appearance late Thursday, the former accountant, Philip Ayliff, told jurors about preparing Manafort tax forms that asked whether Manafort had any financial interest in foreign accounts. Jurors are expected to hear testimony Friday that Manafort never told his tax accountants about offshore bank accounts containing millions of dollars.

"It is hard for me to see how Manafort escapes a conviction on those counts", former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti tweeted about the tax evasion charges. Manafort claims that Gates embezzled millions of dollars from his political consulting business. They believed the overseas entities that were dumping money into Manafort's domestic accounts were third-party clients, not slush funds controlled by the former Trump aide. When pressed as to who "he" referred to, Laporta said, "Paul Manafort".

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