Rick Gates says he and Paul Manafort didn’t report 15 foreign accounts, knew it was illegal
In stunning testimony, Gates stated he and Manafort had 15 foreign accounts they did not report to the federal government, and knew it was illegal. Gates said he did not submit the required forms “at Mr. Manafort’s direction.”
Gates then admitted that he also turned the tables on Manafort — cheating him out of “several hundred thousand” dollars by submitting false expense reports that were paid out of some of the undisclosed foreign bank accounts in Cyprus.
The testimony from Gates, a former adviser to Donald Trump, comes after reaching a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller earlier this year to testify against his former partner in a lucrative international political consulting firm.
Manafort stared directly at Gates as he read aloud the details of his plea agreement, which could see him receive a reduced sentence, at the direction of a prosecution lawyer.
Gates did not make eye contact with Manafort as he took the stand wearing a yellow tie and navy blue suit.
Offering evidence against his former partner, Gates described how the two men worked in Ukraine for former pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych, and how Yanukovych’s backers moved money from their accounts in Cyprus to Manafort.
He called the veteran Republican operative “one of the most politically brilliant strategists I’ve ever worked with.”
Prosecutors allege that Manafort financed a lavish lifestyle featuring sumptuous residences and extravagant wardrobes by using millions of dollars in profits that he hid from tax authorities then turned to bank fraud when his income started to dry up. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Gates outlines false expense reports, financial crimes
The defense in the case is likely to subject Gates to an intensive cross-examination after arguing during opening statements that he embezzled millions of dollars from Manafort and then turned against him under pressure from Mueller.