WASHINGTON — The special counsel investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election has moved to drop 22 tax and bank fraud charges against Rick Gates, a former top official in President Donald Trump’s campaign.
The move was part of Gates’ agreement to plead guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States and lying to the FBI.
The day before he admitted to the two charges in District of Columbia federal court, Gates was indicted in the Eastern District of Virginia along with former business partner Paul Manafort. The cases center around what prosecutors allege was a multi-year scheme by the pair to hide money from their work for an Ukrainian political party from American authorities. They avoided paying taxes by disguising their payments as loans, according to the grand jury, hid money in foreign bank accounts and made false claims to banks to get real estate loans.
As part of the plea, Gates agreed to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe regarding “any and all matters” it deemed relevant to its investigation.
“Under the terms of the plea agreement, the government agreed that it would ‘move promptly to dismiss without prejudice the charges brought against [Gates] in the Eastern District of Virginia and [Gates] waives venue as to such charges in the event he breaches this Agreement,’” attorneys for the special counsel wrote in a court filing Tuesday.
Manafort still faces special counsel charges related to the Ukraine work in both Washington and Virginia. He is set to appear in federal court in Alexandria Friday afternoon.
Washington Post writer Spencer S. Hsu contributed to this report.
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