Manafort prosecutor lashes back when judge tries to speed up Gates' testimony

AFP  Getty Images FILEPaul Manafort arrives for a hearing at U.S. District Court

They were the first two people indicted by Mueller's grand jury.

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.

"In Cyprus, they were documented as loans".

Gates has accepted a plea deal to testify against Manafort, who is facing 18 charges, including tax fraud, bank fraud and money laundering. Manafort then paid Gates out of Cryprus-based bank accounts illegally concealed from the United States government, Gates testified, according to CNN crime and justice reporter Shimon Prokupecz. The prosecution has tried to demonstrate Gates' credibility as a witness, which Manafort's attorneys have been attacking.

The current federal trial in the Eastern District of Virginia is based on alleged tax and bank fraud, while next month's Washington, D.C. trial deals with allegations of conspiracy, money laundering, and acting as an unregistered foreign agent.

He also said he inflated his expenses by hundreds of thousands of dollars to steal from Manafort -- a lower figure than the millions of dollars that defense lawyers said he stole.

Gates will return on Tuesday morning to continue his examination.

Prosecutors have accused Manafort and Gates of conspiring to hide a significant portion of the $60 million that Manafort earned through his political lobbying in the Ukraine for its then-President Viktor Yanukovych. By that standard, Ellis told the court, Charles Koch and George Soros would be considered oligarchs.

He said he made a decision to plead guilty and help prosecutors in the hope that they will recommend he serve less than the 57 to 71 months in prison he faces under advisory sentencing guidelines.

Gates explained Tuesday how he and Manafort opened up bank accounts in Cyprus using "shelf" companies created and nominally maintained by a Cypriot law firm to make it more hard for law enforcement agencies to find a paper trail or fingerprints tying Manafort to the accounts.

The jury had heard testimony on Friday and Monday from accountant Cynthia Laporta, who described how she said Manafort and Gates doctored financial statements and backdated loans.

When asked, "Did you commit crimes with Mr. Manafort?"

"In most instances, it was clear that Mr. Manafort knew what was going on", she said.

Prosecutors will turn to Gates for first-hand support of their accusations that Manafort concealed millions of dollars in foreign income and later lied when he applied for bank loans.

He said that some of Manafort's income was disguised as loans from 15 shell companies that Manafort controlled, majority in Cyprus.

Under cross-examination Monday, defence attorney Kevin Downing pressed Laporta on the complexities of Manafort's finances as he worked to paint a picture of a political consultant who left the details to professionals and, in particular, to Gates.

Rick Gates, the government's star witness, recounted how he and Manafort used offshore shell companies and bank accounts in Cyprus to funnel the money, all while concealing the accounts and the income from the IRS.

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