‘Secret life’: Rick Gates forced to reveal affair at Manafort trial

08 August, 2018, 20:25 | Author: Charlene Valdez

Kevin Downing, an attorney for Manafort, accused Gates of having a "separate, secret life" with his lover in London and of using business expenses to pay for the affair, including an apartment in London.

Manafort's lawyer suggested that the affair - which included a London pad, first-class plane trips and luxury hotels - cost up to $3 million.

He told the jury that Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman, loaned himself money between two Cypriot accounts because "he was trying to decrease his taxable income".

Rick Gates says 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.

Prosecutors summoned Gates to give jurors the first-hand account of a co-conspirator they say helped Manafort carry out an elaborate offshore tax-evasion and bank fraud scheme.

On Tuesday, Gates was forced to answer questions about past infidelity, his embezzlement and what Manafort had directed him to do while in his employment.

Gates testified Tuesday that he and Manafort engaged a law firm in Cyprus - and its director, "Doctor K" - to help hide millions of dollars they received for their work in Ukraine. Cindy Laporta, one of the accountants, also testified that Manafort and Gates had used phony loan documents to improperly reduce Manafort's income and lower his tax bill.

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In addition, Gates has admitted to other criminal conduct. He was expected to be the prosecution's star witness in the case after reaching a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller's team. After Yanukovych lost power in 2014, "I would say it decreased the income stream", Gates, wearing a blue suit, told the court matter-of-factly.

Gates proved essential to prosecutors' attempt to tie Manafort to the dozens of foreign bank accounts in Cyprus, the United Kingdom, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines where he allegedly hid millions of dollars of taxable income from the IRS for almost a decade.

The tax and bank fraud charges in the current trial - the first of two Manafort is scheduled to face - however, have nothing to do with Manafort's work on the Trump campaign.

Prosecutors had intentionally left many of these pieces of evidence blank on an itemized list of documents they are presenting in court, signaling they could be the most sensational and attention-grabbing files in the evidence binder. Regarding a trading company Manafort had started with a partner in 2011, he asked with deep scepticism: "You're asking the jury to believe Mr Manafort authorised another US$250,000 as a bonus?"

Rick Gates is back on the stand for another hour of cross-examination Wednesday, as defense attorneys seek to paint him as far too compromised to offer credible testimony against his former boss.

The veteran Republican operative is not on trial for anything he did while serving for three months in 2016 as chairman of Trump's presidential campaign.

By that time, Gates was working on Trump's inaugural committee.

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Asked if he got any personal benefit from Mr Manafort's falsified loan applications, Gates responded: "No, I did not".

A spokesman for the special counsel's declined to comment.

Gates' voice remained steady and calm throughout his roughy six hours of testimony Tuesday.

In prosecutors' questioning, then in a combative cross-examination from the defense team, Gates revealed the extent to which he had siphoned money from his boss and committed a host of other misdeeds.

Prosecutors showed contracts laying out that Manafort would be paid $4 million a year in quarterly installments of $1 million, all channeled through Cyprus.

Andres followed up: "Did Mr Manafort know?" Gates said the money he took was sent to his account in the United Kingdom and was never disclosed to his accountants or the US government.

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