Manafort trial day 4: Accountant concedes possible wrongdoing, Manafort's double life

Tuesday, 07 Aug, 2018

He left Manafort's firm for a time to work for companies in the lottery and gaming business, but the two reunited in 2006 when Manafort began doing political consulting work for Viktor Yanukovych, an ambitious politician in Ukraine whose election as president in 2004 had been overturned because of widespread electoral fraud. Another series of emails warned him of an upcoming deadline to pay property taxes on one of his homes in NY before penalties kicked in.

Notably, accountant Cindy Laporta testified that Gates had sent her backdated documents to reduce Manafort's tax liability in support of the existence of such loans.

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

"No", she said, adding that there was also never any principal payment. Manafort's tax returns have not yet been introduced into evidence. She acknowledged her wrongdoing in the cover-up, stating that her conduct was "inappropriate". That could change if Laporta's credibility is undermined on cross, the person said. But he says Manafort authorized those discussions, and Gates and Manafort never contradicted each other. They were booked to the same Cyprus entity, bringing the total to $1.9 million. "It isn't a crime to be profligate in your spending", Ellis said.

The judge said: "But you still went ahead and used it?"

Taking the stand on the trial's fifth day, Gates admitted to helping Manafort doctor financial statements, hide sources of foreign income, mislead banks to get loans and cheat on his US taxes.

But Laporta's testimony raised the stakes for Manafort.

TV cameras lined up before 5 a.m.in preparation for the first day of Paul Manafort's federal trial last week.

When asked if she believed the loan had been forgiven, Ms. Laporta hesitated before saying, "no".

Ms. Laporta is the first witness to testify under a grant of immunity in Mr. Manafort's trial on charges of tax and bank fraud.

Manafort faces tax and bank fraud charges stemming from his work for a pro-Russia politician in Ukraine.

President Donald Trump bluntly declared his attorney general should terminate "right now" the federal probe into the campaign that took him to the White House, a newly fervent attack on the special counsel investigation that could imperil his presidency. "He had access to much if not all of the business dealings that form the substance of the charges, but that also gives the defense the opportunity to try to convince jurors that he manipulated the evidence to protect his own skin and to paint Manafort as the fall guy".

Mr Manafort is facing charges of bank fraud, tax fraud, and failing to report foreign bank accounts. A witness from a home electronics company said Manafort spent more than $2 million over a five-year period with his company.

"Rick Gates had his hand in the cookie jar and couldn't let his boss find out", Manafort defense attorney Thomas Zehnle said during opening arguments. Manafort claims that Gates embezzled millions of dollars from his political consulting business. "It's a lot, and Paul Manafort trusted that Rick Gates was keeping track of it". Such accounts must be reported to tax authorities if they contain $US10,000 or more.

Paul Manafort pictured earlier this month.

Asked why she engaged in misconduct, Laporta said she had few good choices. Andres asked Washkuhn if she had ever heard of 14 different shell-company bank accounts. Classifying the property as a personal residence would have made it easier to obtain the mortgage at a low rate.

What we don't know: What is Manafort's end game?

When they appeared, the bookkeeper and accountants said, they thought the companies were clients or, in some cases, lenders.

Jurors also saw on each tax return that Manafort answered "None" to the question of whether he had foreign accounts.

Ellis said all that's relevant is that Manafort was paid and whether he hid the income from the IRS. The trial in that case is expected to begin September 17. "Mueller's lead prosecutor in this case, Andrew Weissmann, is working hard to make sure that happens", Tucker Carlson said. This article is strictly for informational purposes only.