Manafort trial: Gates describes funneling millions through Cyprus accounts

Manafort trial: Gates describes funneling millions through Cyprus accounts

Manafort trial: Gates describes funneling millions through Cyprus accounts

He was explicit at multiple points about Manafort's agency in the crimes, saying he lied to accountants "at Mr. Manafort's request", that he told those accountants Manafort didn't control any foreign bank accounts (which the prosecution says he did) "at Mr. Manafort's direction", and that Manafort "directed" him to categorize some income as loans in order to reduce his taxable income.

The accusations against Manafort and Gates mostly stem from their work helping to elect Viktor F. Yanukovych, the former president of Ukraine, and other pro-Russia forces in Ukraine, and to secure business ventures with the oligarchs backing those politicians.

Andres said he was obligated to show the jury why Manafort was getting tens of millions of dollars in payments to prove it was income. With an enormous salary serving his expensive lifestyle (earlier in Manafort's trial, we learned about his taste for ostrich jackets), Manafort had a pretty good racket going on, until he plunged into debt and made the fateful decision to run President Trump's long-shot campaign in 2016. Gates agreed to flip on his former boss in exchange for leniency. Gates also worked for the Trump election campaign.

Gates was given a deal by Robert Mueller's special counsel probe to become star witness at the fraud trial of his former boss.

Gates testified that the money they earned for the political consultancy work in Ukraine passed through bank accounts in Cyprus that they controlled. Klimnik is a Russian-Ukrainian political consultant who was indicted in June on charges stemming from the Mueller probe. When journalists heard that Gates would be next to testify, many of them fled the room to get the news out.

On Monday, Gates spoke in short, clipped answers as Manafort rarely broke his gaze from the witness stand, followed that of vendors who detailed Manafort's luxurious spending and financial professionals who told jurors how the defendant hid millions of dollars in offshore accounts.

Reporters in the courtroom said that Manafort stared intently at Gates while he testified against him, but that Gates avoided looking at his former partner.

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"Yes", Laporta said, "of course" she would call Manafort if she suspected Gates was enriching himself with Manafort's money.

Gates, who also served in a senior role in Trump's presidential campaign, said he repeatedly lied to hide the bank accounts and, at Manafort's direction, would classify money that came in as either a loan or income to reduce Manafort's tax burden. In court filings, Mueller has accused Kilimnik of having ties to Russian intelligence services, an allegation he has denied.

Since the trial started before U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis last Tuesday, Manafort's lawyers have kept their cross-examinations brief and at times refrained from attempting to rebut damaging testimony in detail.

But Laporta's testimony raised the stakes for Manafort, legal experts said.

Gates took the stand late in the day Monday, drawing gasps from the courtroom in Alexandria, Va., when his name was announced as the next witness. The prosecution has tried to demonstrate Gates' credibility as a witness, which Manafort's attorneys have been attacking.

Some of the maneuvers were at the request of Gates, while others implicated Manafort, Laporta testified.

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