Published: Wed, August 08, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Rick Gates says he and Manafort disguised foreign income as loans


Gates, who is cooperating with U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, testified on Monday that he helped Manafort doctor financial statements, hide foreign income and evade hundreds of thousands of dollars in U.S. income taxes.

The admission, made during cross-examination from Manafort's attorneys, was part of Gates' second day of testimony against Manafort, who's now on trial for money laundering and fraud charges from his work as a pro-Russian lobbyist in Ukraine.

"There is a period of time over 10 years ago when I had a relationship, yes", Gates said.

Downing questioned why they jury should trust that Gates is telling the truth after all the lies he's told and the crimes he's committed.

The prosecution produced an undated email exchange between Mr Manafort and Mr Gates which outlines the amount of tax the campaign chief might have to pay. Gates was indicted on similar charges to Manafort, which were dropped after he agreed to plead guilty to lesser charges of conspiring against the US and lying to the government officials in exchange for this testimony. Gates said he was there to tell the truth and accept responsibility. Gates struggled to answer Downing's questions about which of his transactions were legitimate and which were not, prompting Downing to complain that Gates "seemed to have flawless recollection" when being questioned by Greg Andres, a lawyer for the prosecution.

Gates replied: "I did".

Downing also mentioned allegations of insider trading, and discussed Gates' relationship with film producer Steven Brown, who is accused of engaging in a scheme to defraud investors in D-list films.

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Gates testified Tuesday that Manafort's business dried up when the pro-Russia political party they were working for in Ukraine lost power in 2014.

Gates also testified that he received a "template" from attorneys in Cyprus which he then used to create fake "consultancy agreements" at Manafort's direction.

Manafort's Kiev-based aide Konstantin Kilimnik was able to collect $500,000, Gates said, but "to my knowledge it was never paid in full".

"Because DMP had no clients", Gates said.

Gates, in response to Downing's questions, said that some of his income from his work with Manafort came from transactions Manafort authorized, and some came from unauthorized transactions.

One part of Gates' testimony led to some laughter in the courtroom.

Judge T.S. Ellis III then asked Gates to clarify if those "loans" were actually just income-specifically payment for services-earned and not declared by Manafort.

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