Rick Gates says he and Manafort disguised foreign income as loans

Paul Manafort

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The star witness in Paul Manafort's financial fraud trial says the former Trump campaign chairman told him to be truthful about offshore shell companies and bank accounts during a 2014 interview with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. "I'm trying to change".

"I admitted to a previous relationship", Gates said, adding that he maintained a flat for about two months. They made a mistake when they confirmed me.

The defense asserted in its opening statement that Gates could have committed the bank fraud, tax fraud and foreign banking crimes that form Manafort's charges.

Gates, who is awaiting sentencing, told jurors that he embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort by filing false expense reports.

Gates, also a former Trump campaign aide, has claimed during three days of evidence that he both stole for and stole from Manafort, who denies 18 counts of bank and tax fraud and failing to disclose foreign bank accounts. In addition, he pleaded guilty to making false statements to investigators.

"After all the lies you've told and fraud you've committed, you expect this jury to believe you?" Gates did not have a chance to respond to those allegations Monday. "You told me you were on top of this", he wrote Gates in April 2015.

After Gates described his theft as "unauthorized transactions" instead of embezzlement, Downing prodded him to use the latter term - and Gates ultimately relented, saying, "It was embezzlement from Mr. Manafort".

Gates explained that Manafort's financial difficulties worsened in 2014, when Viktor Yanukovych was no longer in power and the Party of Regions disintegrated.

Gates has told jurors he and Manafort spent years carrying out a vast tax-evasion and bank fraud conspiracy involving millions of dollars.

Gates made numerous damaging admissions during cross-examination. Manafort's defence team's has tried to pin much of the blame for financial crimes on Gates and raise doubts about his ethics and morals. Looking at a ledger listing almost $3 million in transactions, he was unable to say which ones were legitimate and which ones he initiated with false expense reports.

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Prosecutors also say the men falsified documents to lie to banks in order to qualify Manafort for loans. The "Mar-a-Lago Crowd", as they're known among VA insiders, have secretly exerted sweeping influence on the VA ever since - even though none of the three has ever served in the USA military or government and appear to have no special knowledge of veterans issues.

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

Prosecutors hope to wrap up their case this week. But then prosecutor Greg Andres invoked Trump's name, and Gates' and Manafort's work on the campaign became more explicitly tied to the alleged crimes at the heart of the trial. "Mr Manafort worked with the local political officials and helped implement policy initiatives based on the campaign promises".

Gates, who was working on Trump's transition team, testified that Manafort had suggested Stephen Calk as a candidate for Army secretary two weeks after Trump was elected.

Employees from Federal Savings Bank are expected to testify later this week.

And there were Manafort's emails, which prosecutors showed to the courtroom.

After saying Monday that he committed crimes with Manafort, including concealing offshore accounts to avoid reporting them to the USA government at tax time and claiming false income to get loans, Manafort defense attorney Kevin Downing asked the witness, "This jury is just supposed to believe you after all the lies that you've told and the fraud you've committed?"

The email exchange about Calk occurred after Manafort left the Trump campaign but while Gates was active on the Trump inauguration committee. Gates testified that he'd followed Manafort's instructions as they set up Cypriot and other foreign bank accounts, moved money from Ukrainians into the United States, made sure Manafort's name was scrubbed from the accounts, then lied to the IRS and banks.

Gates, who is 46 and married, admitted: "There was a period in my life, about 10 years ago, when I had a relationship, yes".

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

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