Manafort Accountant Admits Possible Wrongdoing During Trial

Manafort Accountant Admits Possible Wrongdoing During Trial

In his defense, Manafort's legal team has argued that he left the details of his spending to others, saying that his involvement with longtime associate Rick Gates led to accounting errors. She is the first witness in the trial to testify under immunity from the government.

And at the end of the day Friday, an accountant named Cindy Laporta testified, under an immunity deal with prosecutors, that she had concerns when she helped Manafort apply for a bank loan that information he provided her was false.

But he otherwise approved "every penny" of the personal bills bookkeeper Heather Washkuhn paid for him, she said. She said she didn't believe the loan existed, but that she went along with it anyway because Manafort was a longtime client.

"It's the president's opinion", she said. "You can't pick and chose what's a loan and what's income". This was a minor problem, however, because KWC's policies don't require such documents to substantiate their clients' representations - unless audit services are requested, Laporta said.

When the accountant and bookkeeper were called as witnesses, the defense sought to show they often received their information from Gates, not Manafort.

Ayliff described Gates as Manafort's partner and right-hand man, but when asked who was in charge in the relationship, he said, "Oh, Mr. Manafort".

"When Yanukovych had to flee Ukraine for Russian Federation in 2014, Manafort's "cash spigot" was shut off, the prosecutor said, and the political strategist set out to generate money by lying to banks on loan applications". They were booked to the same Cyprus entity, bringing the total to $1.9 million.

Laporta said the move likely saved Manafort $400,000 to $500,000 in taxes.

The bookkeeper said Paul Manafort submitted fake financial documents.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III asked Laporta about her understanding of the forgiven loan. Ellis said the term could be perceived as negative and could potentially bias jurors against Manafort.

The proceedings ended before Manafort attorney Kevin Downing could cross-examine her.

The prosecution has pressed that Manafort made false financial representations in order to obtain loans from banks.

After prosecutors appeared to equivocate earlier in the week on whether they would call Gates, who pleaded guilty in February to tax conspiracy, to testify against his former boss, it has become more and more apparent that they will use his testimony to bolster their case against Manafort.

Most of the email evidence introduced today implicated Gates more directly than Manafort in a scheme to convert income into loans. "But Manafort might still offer a great deal of help for Mueller, for instance, discussing the history of financial back-and-forth between Trump and Russian Federation".




"He is completely outraged by the way Manafort has been treated, with the solitary confinement and all of that", Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani told The Post. He is expected to testify at the trial, which could last weeks.

"The plan for Paul Manafort is to ensure that he dies behind bars".

Speaking on CNN on Thursday, Justice Correspondent Jessica Schneider also noted that the timing of Manafort's cash flow problem is significant because, in her words, "That was around the time he offered to work for the Trump campaign for free". That investigation remains ongoing, and this week's financial fraud trial is not tied to collusion.

Mr Manafort is facing charges of bank fraud, tax fraud, and failing to report foreign bank accounts.

Friday began with testimony from Ayliff, who handled Manafort's tax preparations before retiring and turning them over to Laporta. The firm, which charged Manafort about $100,000 a year, was hired to track all of his income and expenses for his business and personal accounts. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to the charges. But he said Manafort authorized those discussions, and Gates and Manafort never contradicted each other.

"I am confused", Gates said.

"We asked the question and the response was no", Ayliff said.

In one such instance, Laporta testified that Manafort tried to retroactively classify one of the properties he owns as a secondary residence instead of a rental, as it was originally listed. "Not sure where that leaves us".

Asonye walked jurors through Manafort's tax returns on Friday to back the prosecution's claim that he hid his foreign accounts and income from USA tax authorities.

Recall that according to USA investigators, a former lobbyist of the Party of regions by Paul Manafort earned more than $60 million as a political consultant in Ukraine.

"Only a fool would give that information to his accountant if he was trying to hide it" from the Internal Revenue Service, Downing said, referring to whether the accountant had names of the Cyprus-based entities in his files and had retained them for his records.

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

Here are four insights from the week that was and a look ahead to Manafort's second week on trial in Alexandria, Va. It would address allegations that he acted as an unregistered foreign agent for Ukrainian interests and made false statements to the USA government.

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