- Businessman Rick Gates was indicted along with Paul Manafort on Monday. Gates was Manafort’s protégé. The two met as Washington lobbyists three decades ago. He joined Donald Trump’s election efforts in 2016 when Manafort became the campaign manager.
Paul Manafort, the former campaign manager for Donald Trump during the 2016 election, was indicted Monday morning along with his former business associate Rick Gates, according to multiple media reports.
The two associates were charged on 12 counts, including conspiracy to launder money, conspiracy against the US, and false and misleading statements surrounding their foreign bank and financial accounts.
Robert Mueller, the special counsel to the US Justice Department leading the probe into the Trump campaign’s possible coordination with Russia in last year’s election, had been investigating Manafort and Gates for their relationships with foreign leaders and suspicious financial dealings abroad.
Manafort, who has strong ties to Trump’s inner circle, has been at the center of Mueller’s investigation. Gates is a lesser known figure in Washington, but still an influential Trump booster with wide-ranging connections to powerful leaders and businessmen around the world. Here’s what we know about him.
Gates’ early days in Washington politics
Gates met Manafort nearly three decades ago while he was an intern at Black, Manafort, Stone, Kelly – one of the most powerful lobbying firms in DC.
The firm worked to help boost the image of dictators and strongmen around the world, including Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines, Mobutu Sese Seko of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Russian-aligned former president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych.
Although Manafort left the firm the same year Gates joined, the two reunited in 2006 at a new consulting company called Davis Manafort.
Two years later, Gates took over the company’s affairs in Eastern Europe, flying to London, Paris, and Moscow, meeting with potential business partners, developing deals, and negotiating contracts, according to The New York Times. His trips to Russia included meeting with associates of Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch linked to organized crime who is an ally of President Vladimir Putin.
Connections to the Trump campaign
Gates joined Trump election efforts in the spring of 2016 when Manafort became the campaign manager, working as Manafort’s deputy. He traveled with Trump and grew close with many top campaign officials, including former chief of staff Reince Priebus and adviser Tom Barrack.
After Manafort was ousted as Trump’s campaign chief in August 2016, Gates continued working on behalf of the soon-to-be president, helping fundraise $25 million for the pro-Trump nonprofit America First Policies and working on Trump’s inaugural committee. As Mueller’s probe intensified in the early months of the Trump administration, Gates left the nonprofit altogether.
As recently as June, however, The Daily Beast reported that Gates was still visiting the White House and working under Barrack, who has remained one of Trump’s most trusted advisers.
Trump reportedly “had no idea [Gates] was in the building, otherwise he wouldn’t be too happy,” a source told the outlet. Gates still had access to the West Wing, even if it wasn’t directly with the president.
- Mike Nudelman/Business Insider
Secret payments in Cyprus
During his tenure at Davis Manafort, Gates helped start a private equity fund called Pericles that was set up to buy companies in Russia and Eastern Europe.
The money that was funneled through that fund, reportedly through offshore bank accounts in Cyprus, believed to be at the center of Mueller’s indictment of Manafort and Gates.
Jason Maloni, a spokesman for Manafort, told the New York Times in June that “Paul’s payments for his work abroad have all come through traceable wire transfers to his U.S. accounts.”
Manafort and Gates have denied any wrongdoing, even though both of their names appear on documents linked to those shell companies in Cyprus.
Read the full indictment for Gates and Manafort below: