Paul Manafort's ex-aide Rick Gates testifies at trial on Cyprus accounts


In early July, Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani also suggested Cohen might flip: "If he believes it's in his best interest to cooperate, God bless him, he should cooperate", Giuliani said at the time.

Gates admitted that at Manafort's behest, they later created a loan agreement for Lyovochkin's payment, though no loan existed.

Andres spent the morning questioning Manafort's longtime deputy, Rick Gates, who pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiracy against the United States and one charge of lying to an Federal Bureau of Investigation agent in exchange for testifying against his former boss.

Prosecutors summoned Gates 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.

On Tuesday, Gates did connect one part of the bank fraud charges against Manafort to his role in the Trump campaign. A letter backdated to 2015 was signed by a member of the law firm that ran Manafort's Cypriot accounts, Gates said.

Prosecutors have sought to undercut this argument by repeatedly asking witnesses who dealt with Manafort and Gates about the dynamics of their relationship, trying to underscore that Manafort was the supervisor.

New charges can be brought against Gates if he fails to meet the conditions of the deal, he said. While Gates never mentioned Trump by name, he said he worked for "one of the recent presidential campaigns".

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In one exchange, Ellis interrupted Andres during Gates' testimony about his travels, according to Politico.

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.

After Gates struggled to recall precisely what he had told Mueller's team, Downing asked if he had been confronted with "so many lies" that he can't keep his story straight. But court watchers had been eagerly awaiting Gates, who both the prosecution and defense seem to be hoping will be at the center of their case.

He testified that Mr Manafort had directed him to lower taxable income by reporting overseas income as loans. He also admitted to concealing millions of dollars in foreign bank accounts on Manafort's behalf and to falsifying documents to help his former boss obtain millions of dollars more in bank loans.

In questioning Ms Laporta on Monday, a prosecutor asked the accountant about a $10 million loan purportedly received by Mr Manafort from Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska in 2006. His case is the first to go to trial arising from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. They aimed to show jurors how that money flowed from more than a dozen shell companies used to stash the income in Cyprus. They said Mr. Gates did everything from approve expense reimbursements to draft business plans.

He said he was aware Manafort was acting as an unregistered foreign agent in lobbying for Ukraine.

Gates' testimony began on Monday and will likely continue into Tuesday, when Manafort's defense attorneys will cross-examine him.