Filmed and produced by Ben Marino and Greg Bobillot. Archive by Reuters
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This week we heard testimony from Rick Gates, who worked for Paul Manafort for over a decade, first for his consulting company, and worked alongside him in Ukraine, and then for the Trump campaign itself in 2016. His testimony was basically that he had committed crimes himself, and he had done that with Paul Manafort, and, at least in part, for Paul Manafort's benefit. And one of the key parts of his testimony was that Paul Manafort himself directly committed the crime.
So Rick Gates testified that Paul Manafort had edited financial statements for his consulting company in order to boost the income at a time when Paul Manafort was trying to get bank loans in the US in 2015, 2016. So he directly tied Paul Manafort to falsified documents. He also testified that accounts in Cyprus that were controlled by Paul Manafort, he testified that he had helped Paul Manafort hide those accounts from his US-based bookkeepers and accountants, and he testified that he had helped Paul Manafort under-report that income. So, for example, he said that Paul Manafort would direct him to record certain income as loans instead of as income, so that it wouldn't create a tax liability in those years.
The picture that has emerged over the last two weeks of the trial of Paul Manafort's consulting work in Ukraine is that he was deeply ingrained in Ukrainian politics. We have heard testimony from several people, including the US-based consultants who worked with him in Ukraine, and also from Ricketts himself, about the work that he did for Viktor Yanukovych, the former president of Ukraine, and his now defunct Party of Regions. We even heard testimony that Paul Manafort and his consulting company were paid money to help Yanukovych govern. So it wasn't just campaign work, it was after he was elected president in 2010 that Paul Manafort was involved almost in the running of the administration.
It's been quite remarkable hearing about these two men who, you know, just two years ago were running the campaign for the now president of the United States, and hearing both the admissions of wrongdoing by Rick Gates, and, obviously, the allegations of wrongdoing against Paul Manafort, which he has denied.