A Trump Pardon Is Starting To Look Like Paul Manafort's Best Hope

Posted August 07, 2018

An accountant for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort admitted at Manafort's tax- and bank-fraud trial Friday that she filed tax returns she thought contained false information and that she may have committed a crime in doing so.

Prosecutors have said the accounts Manafort used were never declared to the IRS, part of a long-running scheme, they allege, to evade paying taxes on millions of dollars in income.

Attorneys for special counsel Robert Mueller's team say in a court filing that an Federal Bureau of Investigation forensic accountant reviewed "tens of thousands" of documents from 20 financial institutions and 35 companies to support the tax evasion and bank fraud charges against Manafort.

To wit, Laporta testified that KWC didn't often receive requested documents from Manafort or Rick Gates.

In another instance, Washkuhn said Manafort's company made $400,000, but then Manafort told Banc of California it made nearly $4.5 million. "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".

Manafort's attorneys have signalled they will seek to blame Gates and have accused him of embezzling millions of dollars from Manafort.

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Gates is expected to be the government's star witness in its case against Manafort. Such accounts must be reported to tax authorities if they contain $US10,000 or more.

Prosecutors are expected to present to a jury detailed financial evidence they say proves Manafort hid from US tax authorities millions of dollars of income he earned working for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine and lied to banks to get loans.

Washkuhn's testimony also seemed to point toward Manafort's doctoring documents in an effort to inflate his income and to qualify for loans. So she went ahead and filed the false tax return.

Mr. Ayliff said if Pernova Holdings was controlled by Mr. Manafort the money would be counted as income and, therefore, taxable.

On August 19, after another 92 days of running the Trump campaign through its most critical phases, including the convention, Manafort was forced to resign over questions about his financial links to deposed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, as well as Manafort's failure to register as a foreign agent even though he had lobbied the United States government on behalf of the Yanukovich regime.

"We have absolutely put him on the witness list", prosecutor Greg Andres said before the jury entered the courtroom this morning.

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The letter was back-dated almost eight months earlier and included no signatures.

Prosecutors are trying to craft a narrative through the various vendors, bookkeepers, and accountants who have testified that Manafort, through Gates, directed his own illicit transactions.

The final result of this alleged loan back-shifting was "an income tax bill that Manafort could pay", Laporta said. A second trial is scheduled for September in the District of Columbia.

One Republican who is in frequent contact with the president, told Sherman that "the Manafort trial is spinning him into a frenzy". In one instance Manafort's signature was on a loan agreement created in 2015 and inappropriately backdated for the 2014 tax year, she said.

Manafort is contending that any criminal conduct in his business dealings should be pinned on his long-time deputy, Rick Gates, while prosecutors are attempting to prove that Gates acted with the full knowledge, and under the direct instruction, of Manafort. Mr Gates pleaded guilty in February and is expected to testify against Mr Manafort, possibly next week.

When they appeared, the bookkeeper and accountants said, they thought the companies were clients or, in some cases, lenders. But while Laporta acknowledged that she regularly communicated with Gates she said she believed Manafort was in the know.

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