Drama grips court as Manafort lawyers accuse Rick Gates of multiple affairs

Drama grips court as Manafort lawyers accuse Rick Gates of multiple affairs

Rick Gates has been the government's star witness in Manafort's financial fraud trial, testifying how, at the behest of his longtime boss, he helped hide millions of dollars in foreign income and submitted fake mortgage and tax documents.

Mueller's team called on Gates to testify this week so they could introduce evidence that showed, among other dealings, that Manafort authorized foreign wire transfers from accounts he did not report on his tax returns and that he fudged the numbers on a profit and loss statement in 2016 in order to secure a bank loan.

Gates told the court Manafort requested he not tell a bookkeeper about payments made from accounts he held in Cyprus, testifying that hundreds of emails show Manafort approved payments out of those accounts, which he said at one point held almost $6 million.

Rick Gates said under questioning from Manafort's lawyer Wednesday that he told Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and Justice Department lawyers about some of the offshore companies that contained millions of dollars in proceeds from their Ukrainian political work.

Manafort also used Ukraine-originated money to pay for hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of cosmetic dentistry, horseback riding, an Italian villa rental and apparently a yacht, according to Welch. Gates pleaded guilty to reduced charges in February and agreed to cooperate with the government.

Gates served as a deputy for Manafort's political consulting business, and then as his deputy on the Trump campaign in 2016.

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. A bookkeeper said she helped disguise foreign income as a loan to reduce Manafort's tax burden.

"I think the jury will hate (Gates), but they should still convict (Manafort) because of the testimony of other witnesses and the other documents that do put all of this on Manafort".

Gates testified on Tuesday that he once had an extramarital affair that involved maintaining a London apartment.

Prosecutors have noted that Gates and Manafort were not the targets of the investigation at the time of the interview. At one point, as Gates had trouble recalling the details of his confession, Downing asked him, "Have they confronted you with so many lies that you can't even remember them?"

"After all the lies you've told and fraud you've committed, you expect this jury to believe you?"

Rick Gates says he and Manafort disguised foreign income as loans

Lawyers for Mr Manafort are determined to impugn the credibility of Mr Gates.

Gates said he and Manafort created an elaborate operation in Cyprus to use shell companies to secretly accept the money.

Mr Gates said he did, but the defence lawyer wasn't satisfied.

He has already admitted embezzling some funds from Manafort. "I am here. I have accepted responsibility and I am trying to change".

Gates, who is married and has four children, acknowledged having had a "relationship" a decade ago and admitted to stealing from his boss during a "difficult time" in his life by inflating personal expenses.

"In Cyprus, they were documented as loans".

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

Bankers and others familiar with Manafort's real estate portfolio and debts are poised to recount that he lied to get mortgages.

In one email, Manafort wrote "WTF" and "not happy" about tax payments he was going to have to make, Gates said.

Paul Manafort, seated right row second from right, together with his lawyers, the jury, seated left, and U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III, back center, listen to Assistant U.S. Attorney Uzo Asonye, standing, during opening arguments in Manafort's trial on tax evasion and bank fraud charges.

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He then described having "cheated" Manafort out of "several hundred thousand dollars" by submitting fabricated expense reports . Manafort's defence attorneys have sought to paint Gates as an embezzler, liar and the instigator of any criminal conduct.

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