Star witness returns to stand with details of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s alleged tax and bank fraud

By The New York Daily News

Aug. 07–Paul Manafort’s longtime protege painted a clear picture Tuesday of how he and his former boss stashed millions in offshore accounts set up to disguise their illegal gains.

Rick Gates, who also worked on President Trump’s campaign and transition team, told jurors in an Alexandria, Va. courtroom about more than a dozen accounts created with the help of a Cypriot lawyer he referred to in court as “Dr. K.”

Gates, 46, testified on Monday that he helped falsify Manafort’s tax returns and hide his foreign bank accounts used to receive income from wealthy pro-Russia Ukrainian businessmen.

On Tuesday, he walked the jury through the process of using shell companies to transfer funds from Ukrainian businessmen and politicians to the accounts and made clear that Manafort was the one in charge.

Prosecutors allege that Manafort failed to report a “significant percentage” of the more than $60 million they say he received from Ukrainians.

Emails shown in court appeared to confirm Gates’ story that Manafort directed moving the money his consulting company earned from Ukraine through accounts in Cyprus to avoid paying taxes on funds.

The “typical practice was Mr. Manafort would send me a list of wire requests,” Gates said, according to CNN.

Manafort, 69, has pleaded not guilty to 18 counts of bank and tax fraud as well as failing to disclose foreign bank accounts on his taxes.

While Manafort has maintained his innocence, Gates pleaded guilty in February to lying to investigators and conspiring to defraud the United States.

He agreed to cooperate in special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into Russian election interference and whether Trump’s campaign coordinated with the Kremlin.

Prosecutors have illustrated Manafort’s lavish lifestyle of luxury homes and fancy clothes and said that when the money from consulting in Ukraine began to dry up, the longtime GOP strategist lied to banks in order to obtain loans.

Gates is expected to face questions from Manafort’s defense team Tuesday afternoon. They are expected to attempt to undermine his credibility by pointing to his own misdeeds.

Gates admitted on Monday that he cheated Manafort out of “several hundred thousand” dollars during their years working together.

This article provided by NewsEdge.