Rick Gates Set to Testify Against Ex-Boss Paul Manafort

Star U.S. witness Gates testifies he committed crimes with Manafort

Star U.S. witness Gates testifies he committed crimes with Manafort

HuffPost Illustration/Getty Images Rick Gates, the star witness in the case against Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.

He said he was aware Manafort was acting as an unregistered foreign agent in lobbying for Ukraine.

"Certainly the president has made clear he believes Mr. Manafort has been treated unfairly", White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday.

"We did not submit the required form designating he had control over an offshore account", Gates told the jury in federal court in Alexandria, Va., on the fifth day of the trial.

Gates' testimony began on Monday and will likely continue into Tuesday, when Manafort's defense attorneys will cross-examine him.

Gates, who also served in a senior role in Trump's presidential campaign, read off the names of more than a dozen shell companies he and Manafort set up in Cyprus, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the United Kingdom to stash the proceeds of Manafort's Ukrainian political consulting work.

Throughout his testimony, Mr Gates largely avoided making eye contact with Mr Manafort, who appeared to be watching him.

There was no mention of President Trump or his campaign, but this trial is the first big public test for the special counsel.

Prosecutors say this work resulted in earnings of around $60m (£46m) and that a "significant percentage" of this was omitted from Manafort's income tax returns.

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In the beginning of a hugely anticipated courtroom showdown, Gates told jurors that he siphoned off the money without Manafort's knowledge by filing false expense reports.

Gates and Manafort knew all of these actions were illegal, Gates said.

Gates, who testified against his former mentor in exchange for a plea bargain, testified that he committed crimes with Manafort and admitted he stole money from Manafort, as well as from others.

In questioning Laporta on Monday, a prosecutor asked the accountant about a $US10 million loan purportedly received by Manafort from Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska in 2006.

Gates also testified that both he and Manafort had control over the foreign accounts, as well as Manafort's business associate Konstantin Kilimnik.

Gates also testified he and Manafort knew it was a crime because they had been notified by Manafort's accountants in emails.

Laporta detailed multiple examples in which Manafort and Gates sought to doctor financial records, first in order to lower Manafort's taxable income and then later to inflate his income so that he could get bank loans.

Andres said he was entitled to show the jury why Manafort was getting tens of millions of dollars in payments. One accounting trick saved Manafort $500,000 in taxes, she said.

Gates said that at Manafort's request, he sent a 2015 insurance policy for the home that did not list a mortgage on the home, even though the more current 2016 insurance policy noted the mortgage. Manafort, 69, meanwhile, is facing 18 felony charges that could carry a maximum of 30 years in prison.

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