Attorney charged with lying in Russian Federation special counsel probe

Robert Mueller

The U.S. special counsel probing Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election is accusing a London-based lawyer of lying to investigators about his contacts with Rick Gates, a former campaign aide to President Donald Trump, who had already been indicted in a money-laundering case linked to his lobbying efforts in Ukraine.

Van der Zwaan becomes the fourth guilty plea in the Mueller investigation after Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos and former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to investigators previous year, and an online supplier of fake usernames pleaded guilty to identity fraud last week.

He was accused of making false statements regarding communications he had with Rick Gates, a longtime associate of Manafort and a former Trump campaign aide, about work they did in 2012 for the Ukrainian government, according to court papers.

Alex van der Zwaan, a 33-year-old Dutch citizen, said he also lied to investigators about his failure to turn over email communications to the special counsel's office and to his law firm as it cooperated with Mueller on its investigation of Manafort and Gates' foreign lobbying.

The charge against van der Zwaan does not involve election meddling or the Trump campaign's operations.

In a report a year ago, The Kyiv Post described Zwaan as "the Russian-speaking son-in-law of Russian oligarch German Khan". 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. He enlisted the firm in his effort to shield a client, Viktor Yanukovych, the Russia-aligned president of Ukraine, from global condemnation.

Ukraine's investigators have alleged that Yanukovych's government evaded Ukrainian publiccontracting rules by only paying Skadden $12,000 for the report-just below the threshold that would require a public bidding process-and then paying the firm $1.1 million a year later, with Skadden apparently having done no more work for Ukraine. One day after its release, a State Department official called it "incomplete", saying that it "doesn't give an accurate picture" and that the State Department was concerned that "Skadden Arps lawyers were obviously not going to find political motivation if they weren't looking for it".

Van der Zwaan was charged with "willfully and knowingly" making "false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements and representations" to federal investigators about his work for the law firm Skadden, Arps, Meagher, & Flom LLP and Affiliates in 2012.

Even if van der Zwaan "is only cooperating against Paul Manafort, that could be very valuable in the big picture".

On Tuesday, Skadden Arps released a statement saying it had fired van der Zwaan past year. Trump backed down when the White House Counsel, Donald McGahn, refused to convey the order to deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein.

Craig couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Van der Zwaan's expertise at the law firm was in congressional investigations and government policy, according to a biography once on the firm's website that has been taken down.

As part of a plea bargain he has been cooperating with the investigation.

The New York Times reported in September that the Justice Department had asked Skadden for information about its work for Yanukovych and his government.

The charges arose from consultant work for a pro-Russian government in Ukraine.

The report, authored by Skadden Arps, focused on the trial of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a political foe of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, whose political party was a client of Gates and Manafort. After Yanukovych narrowly defeated Tymoshenko in the 2010 presidential election, she was jailed on charges of corruption that were seen by many as being politically motivated. But the indictment against a largely unknown figure who is not known to be connected to the president shows the wide-ranging nature of the ongoing investigation, which is being led by Robert Mueller, the special counsel and former head of the FBI.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Eric Hosmer leaves KC for 8-year deal with Padres
Feb 20, 2018 - 18:38
It will be the the largest contract in Padres history and one of the more surprising free agent signings of the offseason. Two years later, Hosmer returned to Petco Park as the American League's starting first baseman in the 2016 All-Star Game.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Sony Is Launching Japanese Ride-Hailing Service As Uber Ponders Similar Action
Feb 20, 2018 - 18:28
Toyota Motor has said it will take a stake in taxi-hailing service JapanTaxi, set up by Japan's largest taxi firm, Nihon Kotsu. Last November the ride-sharing company announced a partnership with NASA in their efforts to take their app to the skies.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Israeli police arrest telecom officials in corruption probe 'linked to Netanyahu'
Feb 19, 2018 - 08:48
He added: "We will never forget and we will never allow the rewriting of the historical truth". "It's not a better place".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Canada's Samuel Girard wins gold medal in 1000 metre speedskating
Feb 19, 2018 - 08:47
Veteran Canadian short-track speedskater Charles Hamelin's pain was his teammate's gain on Saturday at the Winter Games. Wojtek Wolski scored for Canada in the shootout while Maxim Lapierre, Derek Roy, Rene Bourque and Maxim Noreau missed.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Rohani, Modi reaffirm support for stable Afghanistan
Feb 18, 2018 - 03:11
The two sides are now determined to protect and even broaden the scope of such historical relations, President Rouhani said. Rouhani arrived in India on Thursday for a three-day official visit at the invitation of Modi.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Pakistan court hands down four death sentences in child murder case
Feb 18, 2018 - 03:01
Zainab's father, Haji Muhammad Amin, had arrived in Kot Lakhpat to witness the verdict early this morning. He also thanked Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar for taking the personal interest in the case.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Kabul Hosts Regional Military Chiefs
Feb 17, 2018 - 00:14
The army chiefs will also look at the region's narcotics trade as Afghanistan hits record levels of poppy production, AP reports. However, once the two-member delegation returned to Afghanistan, the air of hostility resumed with accusations against Pakistan.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Lloyds sacks Standard Life Aberdeen as Widows manager
Feb 17, 2018 - 00:14
A source close to the asset manager meanwhile told Reuters that the mandate represented around five percent of total company revenues.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top DUP went back on a deal for Irish language, claims Sinn Féin
Feb 17, 2018 - 00:14
That rift subsequently widened to take in more long-standing disputes over language, social issues and the legacy of the Troubles. DUP leader Arlene Foster said there was "no prospect" of negotiations leading to a new powersharing agreement with Sinn Fein.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Microsoft Garage Launches Photos Companion For Android & iOS
Feb 17, 2018 - 00:12
The firm also noted that users won't have to worry about network speeds and mobile data charges when they use the new app. If you are still on the new version, head into the settings of the Photos app and click on the 'Join Preview' option.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Ethiopia: Prime Minister Hailemariam to Step Down
Feb 17, 2018 - 00:10
Desalegn, 52, took over the position of PM soon after the death of late former Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in August 2012. Despite repeated government assurances that the strife is under control, reports still surface of continued fighting.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Rodrigo Duterte slammed for ordering troops to shoot female rebels' genitals
Feb 16, 2018 - 02:41
Duterte has a chequered history of making menacing and misogynistic remarks towards women. He added that women would be "useless" without their genitals.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Nokia 6 4GB RAM Variant Launched in India: Price, Release Date, Specifications
Feb 16, 2018 - 02:39
The smartphone now comes in two memory variants; one with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage, and another with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage. Also, apart from the higher RAM and storage, all other specifications for the new variant are the same as the previous model.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Dead in New Orleans as Mardi Gras Celebration Comes to a Close
Feb 16, 2018 - 02:37
A total of three people were killed and five others were wounded in three separate shootings in New Orleans on Mardi Gras . They watched the parades put on by Rex and Zulu as well as the truck parades that roll through the streets afterward.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Bjoergen makes Winter Olympics history as Kalla claims first gold of Games
Feb 15, 2018 - 00:28
I just wanted to focus and keep pushing all the time. "Charlotte was stronger than me, but I am happy with silver". Bjoergen took the 11th Olympic medal by finishing second in 40:52.7.