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.
Defense lawyer Kevin Downing guided Gates on a tour through the wide array of lies he's told, and sought to paint him as a man not to be trusted.
DMP International's revenue stream from Ukraine dried up in 2014 after its main client, former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, fled to Russian Federation amid a popular revolt.
Gates said prosecutors agreed not to pursue charges on those matters, and dropped a second indictment against him accusing him of bank and tax fraud.
Downing tried to take it further at a climactic moment of his Gates questioning Tuesday.
Gates testified Tuesday that Manafort hit the roof when faced with an enormous tax bill.
"After all the lies you've told and the fraud you've committed, you expect this jury to believe you?" He is expected to face a bruising cross-examination as defense lawyers try to undercut his credibility and pin the blame on him.
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Prosecutors summoned Gates, described by witnesses as Manafort's "right-hand man, " to give jurors the first-hand account of a co-conspirator they say helped Manafort carry out an elaborate offshore tax-evasion and bank fraud scheme. Oh, and he says he did it all "at the direction of Mr. Manafort". Mr Downing asked Gates.
Instead, Manafort is charged with evading taxes and bank fraud related to the money he made providing political consulting services in Ukraine.
Rick Gates, the government's star witness, recounted how he and Manafort used more than a dozen offshore shell companies and bank accounts in Cyprus to funnel the money, all while concealing the accounts and the income from the IRS.
Jurors saw emails from Manafort imploring Gates to help a banker, Stephen Calk, make inroads into the campaign, inauguration and administration.
"I don't recall", Gates replied.
Gates is cooperating in hopes of a lighter prison sentence. 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.
Gate's testimony was part of the prosecution's effort to prove that Manafort was responsible for financial maneuverings that he and other witnesses have testified include filing false tax returns, defrauding banks in borrowing against real estate, and failing to report foreign bank accounts.
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"In Cyprus, they were documented as loans".
Manafort and Gates were the first two people indicted in Mueller's investigation into potential ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.
Manafort was on Trump's campaign team from March to August 2016, starting as a delegate-wrangler and serving as campaign chairman in the last three months. Gates has already pled guilty to two counts in Mueller's probe and testified against Manafort as part of a plea deal with the special counsel's office.
As he has repeatedly noted, President Donald Trump is not directly implicated in Paul Manafort's Virginia trial.
As for the bank fraud charges against Manafort, prosecutors presented the most compelling evidence yet that he knowingly inflated his income when applying for loans.
In other testimony, Gates recounted how he falsified documents for Manafort, including converting a PDF of a profit-and-loss statement to a Microsoft Word document so he could doctor it to inflate the business' income. 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 Gates told jurors that he had been "tasked" by his boss "to determine how we could lower the taxes".
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The transfers would usually occur when Manafort made requests for Gates to initiate them-often through a list of to-be-sent wire transfers provided by Manafort to Gates via email.