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Jul 31 2018

Rocket Docket

Jury, Opening Arguments, First Witness. That was quick. Bottom line- blame it all on Gates who signed everything too and was skimming more than his share.

Tad Devine is best known as a Democratic operative for Bernie Sanders and like many political professionals took advantage of the United States’ inflated reputation as some sort of democracy, or a least Neo Liberalism, experts to try and coin some cash in Russian Republican Spin Off countries like Ukraine.

Anyway he has a certain level of non-nefarious sorta legal if not quite savory knowlege of what was happening while he and Paul Manafort were working in the same business at the same time in the same place. He’s not earthshattering unless you’re an ‘oh noes, not Bernie too’ snowflake in which case the fainting couch is there in the corner underneath the files. DON’T TOUCH THEM! I haven’t posted the Gulianni weekend meltdown update yet.

This is so done. There is the untaxed $30 Million. Here is his accountant and the books. These are his sworn affidavits. Case closed.

Paul Manafort trial: Government begins calling witnesses
by Rachel Weiner, Justin Jouvenal, Rosalind S. Helderman and Matt Zapotosky, Washington Post
July 31, 2018

Paul Manafort, President Trump’s onetime campaign chairman, is on trial in federal court in Alexandria on bank and tax fraud charges. Prosecutors allege he failed to pay taxes on millions he made from his work for a Russia-friendly Ukrainian political party, then lied to get loans when the cash stopped coming in.

Devine said he learned from talking to people on his first trip that there had been “a lot of controversy” in Ukraine, including a revolution that forced Viktor Yanukovych, who was part of the Party of Regions, from power.

But he said people “believed Yanukovych had moved on and lost a lot of the people with him” who were controversial, that it was “a new election and a new time.” Yanukovych’s “standing was low,” Devine said, and he was seen as “part of the past.”

Yanukovych became “part of the future” — he was elected prime minister in 2006 — because of the “excellent campaign that Paul ran,” Devine said.

Devine described his relationship with Manafort as “friendly” and said he handed over many documents earlier this year in response to a subpoena. Devine’s testimony is important because it is the work in Ukraine that prosecutors say funded Manafort’s lavish lifestyle. They say Manafort did not appropriately report or pay taxes what he earned overseas, and when Yanukovych was forced from power, Manafort’s money flow was cut off, prompting some of his later bank fraud.

Defense attorney Thomas Zehnle said Paul Manfort’s unusual financial arrangements, including bank accounts in Cyprus, came at the behest of the people in Ukraine who were funding Manafort’s work. Zehnle said Manafort never intentionally deceived the IRS about his income, but instead did not realize he needed to file certain forms and make certain declarations.

“This is not a case where someone flew to Switzerland and stashed money in an account,” Zehnle said.

Zehnle said that, four years ago, Manafort willingly sat down with FBI agents who were investigating the misuse of funds in Ukraine. He said the real reason the special counsel was pursuing the case was because of Manafort’s former business partner.

“We are primarily here because of one man: Rick Gates,” Zehnle.

Zehnle also for the first time accused Gates of embezzling millions of dollars from Manafort’s business and then working to hide the income.

“Rick Gates had his hand in the cookie jar and he couldn’t take the risk that his boss might find out,” Zehnle said.

Other people involved in Manafort’s finances — bookkeepers and accountants — were not talking to one another as they should have, Zehnle said, because Gates kept them from doing so.

A attorney for Gates did not return messages seeking comment.

Zehnle said government witnesses would back up Manafort’s account. Amanda Metzler, for example, was the in-house bookkeeper at Manafort’s company and gave information to their tax accountants. “She knew about offshore companies; none of this was hidden from her,” Zehnle said. “It was open and it was transparent.”

Zehnle said the business was composed of “a very small staff generating large revenues,” and the finances were “complicated.” He said Gates handled “income, expenses, loans and the like … Rick Gates was the contact employee for all the day to day.”

The firm reported $92 million in income from 2005 to 2015, Zehnle said, and Manafort alone reported $30 million in that time period.