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Rick Gates testified he and Paul Manafort knowingly committed crimes

By Daniel Uria
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Rick Gates testified he and Paul Manafort knowingly committed crimes
Rick Gates arrives for a status conference at the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., on November 1. Gates testified Monday that he and Paul Manafort knowingly committed crimes under Manafort's direction. File Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 6 (UPI) -- Rick Gates testified Monday that he knowingly committed crimes along with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

On Day 5 of Manafort's trial for tax and fraud charges, Gates testified they worked together to falsify Manafort's tax returns by knowingly failing to report 15 foreign bank accounts, which they knew was illegal. They also failed to register Manafort as a foreign agent, Gates said.

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He said he committed the crimes "at Mr. Manafort's direction."

Gates also testified that he embezzled "several hundred thousand" dollars from Manafort by submitting false expense reports that were paid out of some of the undisclosed foreign bank accounts in Cyprus.

RELATED Accountant testifies she helped Manafort falsify tax returns

The testimony came after Gates pleaded guilty in February and signed a plea deal to testify against Manafort, his former partner at an international political consulting firm.

The pair were indicted in October 2017 for allegedly planning to defraud the U.S. government about money they received for political consultant work in Ukraine and lying about a 2013 meeting they had with an unidentified lobbyist and member of Congress, which included a discussion about Ukraine.

Gates told the jury he revealed several other crimes as part of his plea deal, including embezzling from Manafort and other employers, which were previously unknown and not included in the federal indictments against he and Manafort.

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He also said he lied in a deposition in a civil case against Manafort involving a private equity fund and wrote a letter saying his friend Steve Brown, who is facing fraud prosecution in a New York federal court, had income that didn't exist.

Gates testified that he wired money to Manafort from Cyprus which wasn't declared as income and falsified financial documents for Manafort when he was "hoping to recieve" bank loans.

He added he didn't receive any personal benefit for falsifying Manafort's loan applications.

RELATED Manafort's lawyers blame Gates in bank fraud trial

As part of the plea deal, Gates said prosecutors agreed to not to pursue charges against him for the additional crimes and to drop a second indictment in Alexandria accusing him of bank and tax fraud.

Under the deal, Gates can face up to 10 years in prison with sentencing guidelines of 57 months to 71 months and prosecutors agreed to allow his attorney to seek a probationary sentence.

New charges can be brought against Gates if he fails to meet the conditions of the deal, he said.

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