Rick Gates Testifies Against Former Mentor Paul Manafort in Special Counsel Trial

Rick Gates Testifies Against Former Mentor Paul Manafort in Special Counsel Trial

Rick Gates Testifies Against Former Mentor Paul Manafort in Special Counsel Trial

They also failed to register Manafort as a foreign agent, Gates said.

Finally, before the court recessed for lunch, Gates said that he helped Manafort convert a $1.5 million 2012 loan from Peranova Holdings into income while applying for a loan in 2016.

Gates, whose testimony in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, was continuing, was expected to be a star witness in the government's case, having pleaded guilty in February and agreed to co-operate with prosecutors under a deal that could lead to a reduced sentence.

Gates admitted lying to hide the accounts and said that, under Manafort's instructions, he would classify any earnings as either a loan or income with the aim of reducing Manafort's tax burden. He said his own crimes included cheating on his taxes and lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents just weeks before he pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy and false statements.

Accountant Cindy LaPorta - who was granted immunity from prosecution - was asked by prosecutors if she had been aware of a $10m (£7.7m) loan in 2006 from Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

But the prosecution's witnesses have also testified that they generally believed that Gates was carrying out Manafort's wishes when he gave false information to Manafort's accountants.

Thomas Zehnle, one of Manafort's attorneys, told the court, "Rick Gates had his hand in the cookie jar, and he couldn't take the risk that his boss might find out".

Manafort's defence attorneys have sought to paint Gates as an embezzler, liar and the instigator of any criminal conduct. While Gates never mentioned Trump by name, he said he worked for "one of the recent presidential campaigns".

Gates will return on Tuesday morning to continue his examination.

Prosecutors allege he dodged taxes on millions of dollars he made from his work for a Russia-friendly Ukrainian political party.

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On Monday, Judge T.S. Ellis repeatedly clashed with prosecutors about the relevance of such testimony and once again urged them to speed things along.

Rick Gates, Manafort's former partner in crime (literally, it turns out), took the stand to detail the many shady sides of the global lobbying business he helped the ex-superlobbyist run for years.

In early testimony Tuesday, Gates related his role in setting up offshore bank accounts for Manafort, a complex arrangement that was requested by wealthy and powerful Ukrainian businessmen who bankrolled Manafort's political consulting work in the country. Gates also said that they sometimes characterized payments as loans to mask income.

He also said that he had falsified loan applications and other documents to help his boss get bank loans.

The charges largely predate Manafort's five months on the Trump campaign but were the first to go to trial arising from the special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States election. But Trump has shown interest in the proceedings, tweeting support for Manafort and suggesting that he had been treated worse than gangster Al Capone.

Over 75 minutes, prosecutor Greg Andres posed dozens of questions about Gates's financial crimes and the ways that he worked to help Manafort hide from his financial professionals and tax authorities.

"In most instances, it was clear that Mr. Manafort was aware what was going on", she testified.

Gates said an associate, Konstantin Klimnik, had control over the overseas accounts.

During the testimony, Manafort did not stare Gates down as he did Monday.

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