Publicado: Vie, Agosto 10, 2018
Global | Por Milagro Delgado

Manafort defense asks Gates about additional extramarital affairs

Manafort defense asks Gates about additional extramarital affairs

Rick Gates, the prosecution's star witness testifying in the federal fraud trial against Paul Manafort, revealed Tuesday that he once had an extramarital affair that involved maintaining a London apartment - but said he couldn't recall if he used money he embezzled from Manafort to pay for it.

Manafort's defense team's primary strategy has been to pin much of the blame for financial crimes on Gates, and some observers felt Downing made some headway toward that goal on Tuesday.

Manafort, a longtime Republican political consultant, has pleaded not guilty to 18 counts of bank fraud, tax fraud and failing to disclose foreign bank accounts.

Overall, the accountant traced more than $65 million flowing into offshore accounts controlled by Manafort, and she detailed for jurors how more than $15.5 million flowed out to fund his lavish lifestyle between 2010 and 2014.

Prosecutors also say the men falsified documents to lie to banks in order to qualify Manafort for loans.

Manafort is the first person to be tried on charges brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election.

Mr Manafort and Mr Gates were the first people indicted in Mr Mueller's investigation into potential ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

"He always had control over the accounts", Gates said of Manafort, and the income was not reported to his bookkeepers, his accountants or the U.S. tax authorities.

Manafort's defense attorneys have sought to paint Gates as an embezzler, a liar and the instigator of any criminal conduct. Prosecutors had previously said that Manafort's interactions with Calk were the only part of the trial expected to overlap with his Trump campaign role.

After Gates described his theft as "unauthorized transactions" instead of embezzlement, Downing prodded him to use the latter term - and Gates ultimately relented, saying, "It was embezzlement from Mr. Manafort". "I am here. I have accepted responsibility and I am trying to change".

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He may also be referred to an internal Conservative party disciplinary panel. And there was no immediate comment on the news that he faces investigation.

Before the final bang - or was it a whimper? - prosecutors had their own opportunity Wednesday morning to revisit with Gates exactly what he had done by way of financial crimes, and the steep, lifelong outcome of prison time he could face if he told the jury inaccuracies about Manafort.

"I thought it was somewhere in the range of a hundred years, your honor", Gates said.

He barked at U.S. Attorney Greg Andres to "focus sharply" - a common refrain of his over the past week - when Andres asked permission for Magionos to testify about charts she put together detailing the flow of money from Manafort's foreign accounts to various vendors in the U.S.

While Gates and others have pleaded guilty, Manafort has refused to strike a deal and legal experts say he may be holding out hopes of a pardon from Trump. Gates came on board the Trump campaign with Manafort and stayed for the duration of the campaign, later serving as deputy chairman for Trump's inaugural committee and then starting a pro-Trump PAC.

He also admitted to embezzling money from other employers in the past.

Bankers and others familiar with Manafort's real estate portfolio and debts are poised to recount that he lied to get mortgages.

Numerous jurors have diligently taken notes throughout the proceedings, peering down into small monitors in front of them to scrutinize bank and tax documents.

Gates testified that he and Manafort knew they were committing crimes for years, saying they had stashed money in foreign bank accounts and falsified bank loan documents.

Rick Gates said that he told Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and Justice Department lawyers about some of the offshore companies that contained millions of dollars in proceeds from their Ukrainian political work.

In one exchange published in court Wednesday, Manafort instructs his Cypriot lawyer, Kypros Chrysostomides - referred to in court as "Dr. K" because, according to Gates, his name is hard to spell and pronounce - to transfer money from the Manafort-controlled Leviathan Ltd.

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