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» » . Paul Manafort's 'right hand man' Rick Gates testifies they committed crimes together

.  Paul Manafort's 'right hand man' Rick Gates testifies they committed crimes together

  Rick Gates said Monday that he and former business partner Paul Manafort did commit fraud together, as the key witness took the stand in the first case that the Russia investigation’s special counsel has taken to trial.

Mr. Gates, though, also admitted to embezzling from Mr. Manafort during their time as partners working for foreign clients, a disclosure that could hurt the government’s attempt to label Mr. Manafort the mastermind of fraud.

Mr. Gates took the stand Monday afternoon and, asked directly whether the two men had committed crimes, he answered, “Yes.”

He said he hid foreign bank accounts with millions of dollars from U.S. Treasury Department officials, at Mr. Manafort’s direction, backing the government’s contention that Mr. Manafort, a onetime chairman of the 2016 Trump campaign, knowingly committed bank and tax fraud.

Mr. Gates, who was also with the Trump team as deputy campaign manager, told the courtroom that he and Mr. Manafort did not report 15 foreign accounts. He said they knew it was a crime because Mr. Manafort’s accountants told them so in emails.

In later testimony, Mr. Gates said he lied to Mr. Manafort’s accountants to help his former boss file false tax returns. Those lies, he said, included underreporting Mr. Manafort’s income, creating false loans and not reporting Mr. Manafort’s ownership of foreign accounts.

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