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Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

One of Paul Manafort's accountants admitted Friday she may have committed a crime by filing tax returns for him that she thought contained false information, Politico reports.

Why it matters: The information Cindy Laporta was suspicious about on the tax returns is related to the former Trump campaign chairman’s international consulting business. Laporta is the first witness who has immunity to testify in the trial — and her testimony could be critical to the effort to prosecute Manafort on charges of tax and bank fraud.

What made her suspicious:

  • She doubted that $2.4 million worth of funds Manafort said he received as a loan from international businesses was actually a loan. The funds were coming from Manafort’s customers, which she found suspect.
  • Laporta also said Rick Gates, Manafort’s associate who pleaded guilty in a related case this year, told her in 2015 to reduce Manafort’s income by not counting a loan, which she did. She said she found the move “not appropriate,” adding that “we can’t pick and choose what’s a loan and [what's] income.”
  • When Laporta asked for documentation of the loans, she did not receive the usual extensive documentation in a stack of papers with fine print terms, and instead received one or two pages. She said she found that unusual.
  • She also revealed it was Manafort's own signature on the loan documents, not Gates', which is important since Manafort's defense has been trying to peg Gates as the interlocutor in the financial wrongdoing, per The Washington Post.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
16 mins ago - Economy & Business

How the tech stock selloff is hurting average Americans

Expand chart
Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Investors holding the ultra-popular Nasdaq 100 and S&P 500 index funds have been hard hit over the last two weeks as tech shares have been roiled by rising U.S. Treasury yields.

Why it matters: Even though the economy is growing and many U.S. stocks are performing well, most investors are seeing their wealth decline because major indexes no longer reflect the overall economy or even a broad swath of public companies — they reflect the performance of a few of the country's biggest companies.

41 mins ago - World

UN rights chief: At least 54 killed, 1,700 detained since Myanmar coup

A Feb. 7 protest in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo: Getty Images/Getty Images

Police and military officers in Myanmar have killed at least 54 people during anti-coup protests, while "arbitrarily" detaining over 1,700 people, United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet said Thursday.

Why it matters: Protesters have demonstrating across Myanmar for nearly a month, demanding the restoration of democracy after the country's military leaders overthrew its democratically elected government on Feb. 1.

2 hours ago - Health

The danger of a fourth wave

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Note: Anomalous Arkansas case data from Feb. 28 was not included in the calculated change; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The U.S. may be on the verge of another surge in coronavirus cases, despite weeks of good news.

The big picture: Nationwide, progress against the virus has stalled. And some states are ditching their most important public safety measures even as their outbreaks are getting worse.

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