News World Ukraine in focus as Manafort trial in U.S. heads to second day

Ukraine in focus as Manafort trial in U.S. heads to second day

The political consulting work that President Donald Trump’s onetime campaign chairman Paul Manafort did to earn $60 million in Ukraine is expected to take the spotlight on Wednesday on the second day of his criminal trial.

The first witness set to be questioned by prosecutors is Daniel Rabin, a political consultant who produced TV ads for Manafort in Ukraine. Rabin will likely be asked to elaborate on the nature of Manafort’s work for pro-Russian politicians there.

Prosecutors said their second witness would be an FBI agent, whose name was not disclosed.

Manafort is charged with tax fraud, bank fraud and failing to report foreign bank accounts. His trial is the first under Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him.

In their opening statement on Tuesday, prosecutors said Manafort earned some $60 million in Ukraine and failed to report a large portion of it to U.S. authorities.

They portrayed him as a tax cheat who hid the money in offshore accounts, and lied to borrow millions more against real estate in a bid to maintain an extravagant lifestyle once the work dried up.

Manafort’s attorneys, on the other hand, described their client as a talented consultant who made it to the pinnacle of U.S. politics and on the global stage.

They argued he did not willfully mislead or deceive the IRS, and that he was betrayed by his former business associate Rick Gates.

In his opening on Tuesday, Manafort attorney Thomas Zehnle made it clear the defense plans to make attacking Gates a key plank of their defense.

They noted that Gates, who has pleaded guilty to making false statements, is being trusted to tell the truth when he testifies as a star witness for the prosecution.

The defense lawyer said Gates would “tell untruths” about Manafort. He also accused Gates of not being honest with the accountants that prepared Manafort’s tax returns and of embezzling funds from their business.

It is unclear when Gates will take the stand in the trial in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia.

Prosecutors filed a witness list of 35 people and, after calling political consultant Tad Devine as their first witness on Tuesday, revealed only the next two up for Wednesday.

Prosecutors questioned Devine for about an hour, asking him to explain the nature of Manafort’s work in the Ukraine. Among other things, Devine disclosed that Rinat Akhmetov, a Ukranian oligarch, was a key financial backer of Manafort’s work.

While prosecutors have said they will not present evidence in this trial about possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, they may dig deeper into Manafort’s connections with Russian and Ukranian oligarchs, legal experts have said.

Devine said in his testimony on Tuesday that Manafort used Western-style polling and advertising to help lift pro-Russian political figure Viktor Yanukovych to victory in Ukraine’s 2010 presidential election.

Yanukovych was later swept from power and fled to Russia in 2014, triggering a big loss of business for Manafort.

Top Stories

New record number of new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday: 152

The Health Ministry announced 153 new COVID-19 cases on 20 October, out of 4,410 laboratory tests, taking confirmed infections to 2, 839. The break-down of...

Stench in Kokkinotrimithia and Mammari due to farms and burned garbage

Citizens of Kokkinotrimithia and Mammari contacted philenews and complained that at the Kafkalla location some people threw a huge quantity of garbage and set...

Police chasing suspects in Paphos

Members of the Anti-Narcotics Unit who were watching some suspects for drug trafficking, according to first information, chased a suspicious vehicle which tried to...

71-year-old dead in accident

During an accident that took place this morning in the district of Nicosia, 71-year-old Andreas Alexandrou from Kato Moni of Nicosia District lost his...

Rain and hail in Lympia and Xylotympou (PHOTOS)

Rain and hail were seen in various areas of Cyprus. Social media users published photos from Lympia and Xylotympou. (philenews)

Taste

Squash soup

Ingredients: 1 kg pumpkin, cut into small cubes, approximately 5 cups 2 medium (400g) sweet potatoes, cut into cubes, approximately 2 ½ cups 1 chopped leek, only...

Mezedes

No visit to Cyprus is complete without enjoying the traditional meal of many small dishes known as ‘meze’. This large feast, which has been a...

Prawns with fried cheese, barley shaped pasta

Put the barley shaped pasta into a small pan with salted water, bring to a boil and when tender, drain. Peal the prawns leaving...

Salmon and shrimp sheftalies

Mix all ingredients for tabbouli in a bowl and keep to one side so flavours can combine. Prepare the sheftalies: wash and soak the casing...