losangelesnewstoday.com March 19, 2018

Russian Federation inquiry: lawyer who worked with Manafort charged with lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation

21 February 2018, 06:37 | Katrina Lee

Getty Image

Getty Image

The son-in-law of Russian oligarch German Khan has been charged with making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe of Russian collusion in the 2016 presidential election.

Skadden was hired in 2012 by the Ukraine Ministry of Justice to prepare a report on the trial of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a political rival to Yanukovych.

Gates and Manafort were indicted a year ago and accused of conspiring to launder millions of dollars they earned from political consulting work in Ukraine. The three were allegedly in touch about a report on the controversial trial of former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Timoshenko.

According to the plea deal, Van Der Zwaan told the special counsel that his last communication with Gates was an "innocuous text message" in August 2016, while in reality he had spoken to Gates about the Tymoshenko report in September 2016, "and surreptitiously recorded the calls".

Van der Zwaan is the son-in-law of Russian billionaire German Khan and had been working for the prominent NY law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom until the firm said it fired him a year ago. They also say Van der Zwaan deleted emails sought by the special counsel's office, including one between him and Person A from September 2016.

Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, had also pleaded guilty to lying to investigators, as had George Papadapolous, a Trump campaign foreign policy aide. Though the charge of lying to investigators carries a maximum of five years in prison, van der Zwaan is expected to face zero to sixth months given his past history and cooperation. She is a political foe of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, whose political party was a client of Gates and Manafort. The case "sends a signal to both Paul Manafort and Rick Gates: cooperate or risk greater trouble in the future".

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Gates met Manafort almost three decades ago while he was an intern at Black, Manafort, Stone, and Kelly - one of the most powerful lobbying firms in DC.

The attorney, Alex van der Zwaan, worked in London for the prominent NY law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Trump backed down when the White House Counsel, Donald McGahn, refused to convey the order to deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein. An American, Richard Pinedo, of Santa Paula, California, also pleaded guilty to identity fraud regarding some bank accounts used by the Russians in their influence campaign. The interest in Van der Zwaan is likely linked to his work with Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager.

Gates, a former Trump campaign aide, was indicted on charges of conspiracy to launder money and acting as an unregistered foreign agent.

The New York Times had reported last September that the Skadden law firm in New York had been asked to produce information to the Mueller investigation.

Some later cited Skadden's report to justify the jailing of Tymoshenko. The latest report involving a new Mueller charge, however, is a bit more interesting, both to those following the case closely, and to conspiracy theorists. He entered his guilty plea Tuesday afternoon.

Van der Zwaan spoke with the special counsel's office a second time in early December to confess to his inaccuracies and what he knew, according to prosecutors' statements in court and a plea agreement released Tuesday.

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