ALEXANDRIA, Virginia -- Rick Gates, a former business partner of lobbyist and political consultant Paul Manafort, said he and Manafort did consulting work for Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko -- something which the Ukrainian leader has denied.
Gates' claim came on August 7 in his second day of testimony in the U.S. bank fraud and tax evasion trial of Manafort, which is playing out before a U.S. district court in Alexandria, Virginia, just outside Washington.
A star witness in U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s case against Manafort, Gates testified how he and Manafort did years of lobbying and consulting work for Poroshenko’s predecessor, Viktor Yanukovych, and Yanukoych’s political party, the Party of Regions.
The lucrative deal netted them millions in fees, much of which was paid by Ukrainian oligarchs. After Yanukovych was ousted by popular protests in 2014, Manafort’s Ukraine work dried up.
A $1 million payment for work performed in 2014 was "significantly past due" and "Manafort was quite upset the money had not been sent," Gates told the court.
Manafort's Kyiv-based aide Konstantin Kilimnik was able to collect $500,000, Gates said, but "to my knowledge it was never paid in full." Kilimnik was indicted in the Mueller investigation in June.
According to Gates' testimony, Manafort tried to put together new contracts in 2014 and 2015, including doing work for Poroshenko.
Documents filed in the court docket show memos involving someone named "P. P," a common nickname used to describe Poroshenko.
Asked whether Manafort and his associates had assisted Poroshenko on his 2014 presidential campaign, the current president's press service told RFE/RL: "Petro Poroshenko's team has never cooperated with Manafort, nor with his people."
"Proposals came from them among others, but they were not even considered," the press service said.