Takeaways from day five of the Paul Manafort trial

Takeaways from day five of the Paul Manafort trial

Takeaways from day five of the Paul Manafort trial

The government's star witness took the stand Monday in the bank fraud and tax evasion trial of Paul Manafort, the onetime chairman of the Trump presidential campaign.

Prosecutors have been preparing for this credibility battle by asking a number of witnesses speak to Manafort's role as a supervisor over Gates.

Manafort is on trial in Virginia for various financial crimes he was charged with as part of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russian Federation probe MORE's ongoing investigation.

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.

Gates testified that Manafort directed him to report overseas income as loans in order to lower taxable income and that at Manafort's request, did not disclose foreign bank accounts, which is required by law.

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.

Though he was in court to testify against Manafort, Gates offered praise of Manafort's consulting abilities, which he said brought ex-President Viktor Yanukovych "back from the proverbial political dead". He said he did so at Manafort's direction.

Prosecutors allege he dodged taxes on millions of dollars he made from his work for a Russia-friendly Ukrainian political party. A lawyer in Cyprus nicknamed "Dr. K", for whom Manafort did some political consulting work, helped them set up the accounts, Gates said.

Manafort's defence has sought to blame Gates for any illegal conduct and accused him of embezzling millions of dollars from Manafort. It's the first of Mueller's prosecutions to reach a jury, but lawyers have made no mention of President Donald Trump or possible campaign coordination with the Kremlin.

Manafort's defense hinges on convincing a jury that it was Gates, not Manafort, who committed all of these crimes, and that Manafort is a victim of Gates. And Gates says he also falsified loan applications and other documents to help Manafort obtain millions more in bank loans.

The trial opened last week with a display of Manafort's opulent lifestyle, then progressed into testimony about what prosecutors say were years of financial deception.

Laporta, looking at a summary of loans to Manafort and his businesses, said she could not see any indication that the loan from Deripaska had been paid off. He noted that, as is common with cooperating witnesses, Gates testified to a wide array of crimes - including some that the government hadn't known about prior to his cooperation - and even minor violations, like showing up for parole 15 minutes lates.

Multiple accountancy and bookkeeping witnesses testified last week that they dealt with Gates in preparing Manafort's financial paperwork.

Though the names of those companies appeared on wire transfers and at times on his bookkeeper's ledger, both Manafort's accountants and his bookkeeper say they never knew that the companies - and corresponding offshore bank accounts - were controlled by Manafort.

Under cross-examination, she said at the time she believed Manafort was directing Gates' actions and "knew what was going on".

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