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{UAH} Manafort accountant who admitted role in false tax returns leaves Virginia firm


08/07/2018 02:43 PM EDT

The former accountant for Paul Manafort who admitted filing false tax returns on his behalf was put on leave from her Northern Virginia firm pending her separation, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

The firm, KWC, said it was "unaware" of the disclosed misconduct until it heard Cynthia Laporta testify on Friday and again Monday during Manafort's criminal trial about how she knew Manafort had false information in his 2014 and 2015 tax returns.

The entire KWC leadership team is shocked by Ms. Laporta's testimony, which clearly represents that she failed to meet the firm's high standards for professional and ethical conduct in her work for Mr. Manafort," the company said. "In the firm's entire 35‐year history, no employee or principal has ever been disciplined by a professional body or government agency."

Laporta, an accountant and shareholder with KWC, appeared in the federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, with immunity from federal prosecution granted by special counsel Robert Mueller's office. On the stand, she explained

 that she believed she might have committed a crime when she worked with Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates on Manafort's taxes, but that she didn't speak up because of his relationship with her firm.

I had a couple of choices at that point," she testified. "One was I could have refused to file the tax return. That would potentially expose my firm to risk of litigation.

"I could have called them, Mr. Manafort and Mr. Gates, liars, and they were a longtime — Mr. Manafort was a longtime client of the firm, and I didn't think I should do that, either."

"I very much regret it," she added.

In its statement, KWC said the firm "believes that her actions were related only to work she performed for Mr. Manafort, and that no other client work was affected." It also said "a detailed, independent internal review is being conducted to confirm that her activity was isolated."

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