Yesterday we reported that Rick Gates took the stand on behalf of the prosecution and admitted to criminal activity when he worked for Manafort.
Today Gates revealed the specifics of the criminal activity with Manaforrt in his testimony.
And it doesn’t sound good for Manafort at all:
Via the USA Today:
Seven-year criminal conspiracy
Gates testified that he engaged in an extensive criminal conspiracy with Manafort that lasted seven years and included lying to the Internal Revenue Service to avoid paying taxes and providing false documents to banks to obtains millions of dollars in loans.
Secret overseas accounts
Gates said he helped Manafort hide secret bank accounts in the United Kingdom, Cyprus and the Grenadines. He said he followed Manafort’s directions in failing to disclose the overseas accounts to federal tax authorities as required by law.
“Mr. Manafort requested … that we did not disclose foreign bank accounts,” Gates testified. He said there were 15 secret accounts.
Gates, under questioning by prosecutor Greg Andres, admitted that he padded his expense accounts with phony charges without Manafort’s knowledge, siphoning “several hundred thousand” dollars from the secret accounts. Gates said the money he took was sent to his account in the United Kingdom and was never disclosed to his accountants or the U.S. government. He also admitted to embezzling money from other employers in the past.
Tax and bank fraud
Gates said he falsely labeled hundreds of thousands of dollars in income as loans to reduce Manafort’s tax liability. He also testified that he pressed the firm’s accountants to reclassify loans as income so the company could qualify for more bank loans or get favorable lending rates.
Possible embezzlement of millions
Manafort’s attorneys went on the attack against Gates on Monday, alleging that Gates told accountants to falsify Manafort’s tax returns because Gates was trying to cover up the fact that he had “embezzled millions of dollars” from their firm. Gates did not have a chance to respond to those allegations Monday.
Mysterious ‘Doctor K’
Gates testified Tuesday that he and Manafort engaged a law firm in Cyprus – and its director, “Doctor K” – to help hide millions of dollars they received for their work in Ukraine.
Gates said he and Manafort created an elaborate operation in Cyprus to use shell companies to secretly accept the money.
Manafort, according to Gates, assigned members of the Cypriot law firm as ghost directors of the shell corporations. The firm’s director was known to Manafort and Gates as “Doctor K.” Gates said the man schooled them on how to shield their operations from scrutiny by tax collectors.
Manafort has got to be feeling the heat after that testimony.
Of course as we wrote yesterday, Manafort apparently intends to blame Gates for as much of this as he can. So we’ll have to see where it goes. But the fact that Gates is admitting to this stuff in concert with the prosecution doesn’t look good for him.