ALEXANDRIA, VA — Rick Gates on Tuesday tried to offer an explanation for some of the fishy invoices that have popped up in the bank and tax fraud trial of Paul Manafort.
Gates said that at one point he and Manafort had to close their accounts in Cyprus and move their offshore money to banks in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, both located in the Caribbean.
These new banks required more paperwork than the Cyprus banks needed to send wire transfers to vendors in the U.S. The banks required a copy of the invoices from vendors in order to approve the transfer.
But Manafort either didn’t have the invoice, or the invoice listed Manafort’s name, and because the money was being sent from a company and not Manafort himself, Gates needed to create or edit invoices that included the name of the company rather than Manafort.
This issue came up with several vendors. One of those vendors was Alan Couture, where Manafort spent more than $900,000 between 2010 and 2014.
An Alan Couture invoice was misspelled, according to Gates, who said he took down the name directly from the information Manafort sent, implying that Manafort misspelled the company’s name in some of his requests.
Regarding the Alan Courture invoice, Gates said “yes, it’s a modified invoice,” but added, “the payment was legitimate.”
Manafort is on trial here facing bank and tax fraud charges. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him.