Longtime Manafort deputy Rick Gates admits embezzlement

Rick Gates Testifies That He Committed Crimes With Paul Manafort

Gates walked into a packed courtroom a day after he calmly acknowledged having embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort and said the two had committed crimes together by stashing money in foreign bank accounts and falsifying bank loan documents.

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.

The testimony from Gates, a former adviser to Donald Trump, comes after reaching a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller earlier this year to testify against his former partner in a lucrative global political consulting firm.

Manafort, a veteran lobbyist, has tried to get the financial charges against him dismissed and arguing that Mr Mueller has a "blank check" that he "has cashed, repeatedly".

Critical testimony expected at the trial of President Trump's former campaign chair as Manafort's right-hand man set to take the stand as early as Monday; reaction and analysis from James Trusty, former Justice Department prosecutor.

Rick Gates has been regarded as a crucial witness for the government ever since he pleaded guilty this year to two felony charges and agreed to cooperate in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

Manafort has pleaded not guilty to 18 counts of bank and tax fraud and failing to disclose foreign bank accounts.

Kilimnik is a Russian-Ukrainian political consultant who was indicted in June on charges stemming from the Mueller probe.

In the beginning of a hugely anticipated courtroom showdown, Gates told jurors that he siphoned off the money without Manafort's knowledge by filing false expense reports.

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Prosecutors first presented an email in which Manafort told Gates that he would claim his home in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan as a second residence (even though it was a rental property) when applying for a loan at Citizens' Bank.

On day five of the trial in Alexandria, Virginia, Gates was asked by the prosecutor whether he had committed any crimes with Mr Manafort, and he said: "Yes".

"A lot of these loan agreements are backdated", Gates said. Both cases are connected to work Manafort and Gates did for the Ukrainian government.

Under cross examination on Monday, defence attorney Kevin Downing attempted to show that Gates was the point person in dealing with the accountants.

But Ms Laporta's testimony raised the stakes for Mr Manafort, legal experts said.

Laporta said she had grown to distrust the information Gates was providing her, though she didn't know about the embezzlement.

Similar to prior witnesses, Ms Laporta testified Mr Gates and Mr Manafort were in lockstep but that Mr Manafort was in charge.

"There were no FBARs in FinCEN's system of record", Liss said, indicating that Manafort and his tax preparers did not disclose any of the more than 30 bank accounts owned by his offshore shell companies to the IRS on his tax returns.

On redirect, prosecutor Uzo Asonye used a spreadsheet to show that Manafort's firm had earned $31 million in gross receipts between 2010 and 2014 - half the amount prosecutors say he netted during the same time frame in Ukraine.

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