Gates says he helped Manafort hide payments

This courtroom sketch depicts Rick Gates right testifying during questioning in the bank fraud and tax evasion trial of Paul Manafort at federal court in Alexandria Va. on Tuesday. U.S. district Judge T.S. Ellis III presides at top right

The drama came at the end of Gates's testimony in the trial of his former boss and mentor Manafort, an ex-Donald Trump campaign chairman accused of bank fraud and tax evasion.

Manafort's defense team's primary strategy has been to pin much of the blame for financial crimes on Gates, and some observers felt Downing made some headway toward that goal on Tuesday. Gates recounted how he and Manafort used more than a dozen offshore shell companies and bank accounts in Cyprus to funnel the money, all while concealing the accounts and the income from the IRS.

Federal Bureau of Investigation forensic accountant Morgan Magionos used charts, emails from Manafort to his lawyers in Cyprus, and other corroborating documents to detail how Manafort funneled roughly $15 million from hidden offshore accounts to purchase home electronic installations, real estate, fancy clothing, such as the now-infamous $15,000 ostrich-skin jacket, and other luxuries from 2010 to 2014.

The tax and bank fraud charges in the current trial - the first of two Manafort is scheduled to face - however, have nothing to do with Manafort's work on the Trump campaign.

Testimony resumes Thursday at 9:30 a.m. ET in Alexandria, Virginia, and the government is expected to rest by Friday.

Mr Gates pleaded guilty months later and agreed to co-operate in Mr Mueller's investigation of Mr Manafort, the only American charged by the special counsel to opt for trial instead of a guilty plea.

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On the seventh day of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's criminal trial, the prosecution wasn't ready to rest.

"I'm here to tell the truth and take responsibility for my actions", Gates said in response to a question from Downing about his trustworthiness.

Rick Gates said under questioning from Manafort's lawyer Wednesday that he told Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and Justice Department lawyers about some of the offshore companies that contained millions of dollars in proceeds from their Ukrainian political work.

But it was Gates' testimony that has generated the most drama, as the witness admitted embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from his boss, confessed to an extramarital affair and turned in spectacular fashion against a longtime mentor.

But Gates did not answer Downing's question after the prosecution objected to the relevance of the inquiry. But Trump has shown interest in the proceedings, tweeting support for Manafort. However, Gates also said the agents did not ask about tax returns and "the majority of the Cypriot accounts were closed" at the stage.

Gates said he helped Manafort hide secret bank accounts in the United Kingdom, Cyprus and the Grenadines. "I'm trying to change".

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"After all the lies you've told, and the fraud you've committed, you expect the jury will believe you?"

Gates, who is 46 and married, admitted: "There was a period in my life, about 10 years ago, when I had a relationship, yes". Prosecutors allege that he failed to pay taxes on millions he made from his work for a Russia-friendly Ukrainian political party, then lied to get loans when the cash stopped coming in.

For this Manafort was paid US$4million a year, in quarterly payments of US$1million, Gates recalled, though at some point the currency switched from U.S. dollars to Euros.

In the six days since the trial began, the jury has heard from 15 witnesses including two of Manafort's former accountants and his former bookkeeper. He banned the word "oligarch" from the courtroom for being "pejorative" and complained last week about prosecutors' attempts to put Manafort on trial "for having a lavish lifestyle".

"I thought it was a lower amount", Gates said Wednesday.

Gates's testimony wrapped moment later. "They may think he's a sleazebag - but that's not going to make them overturn how they view the documents", the former attorney said.

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