Attorney charged with lying in Russian Federation special counsel probe

Robert Mueller
Robert Mueller. AP
Author

20 February, 2018

Special counsel Robert Mueller has filed a new charge against an attorney accused of lying to investigators in the Russian Federation investigation.

Prosecutors working for Mueller charged that the lawyer, Alex Van Der Zwaan, lied to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents about his conversations with former Trump aide Rick Gates, who was indicted previous year on charges related to his work on behalf of pro-Russian factions in Ukraine.

Manafort, a former campaign chair for the Trump campaign, has been already been charged with conspiracy and money laundering.

Gates also deleted and then failed to produce emails he exchanged with the unnamed person in September, the charging document says.

Skadden Arps said in a statement Tuesday that the firm terminated Van Der Zwaan's employment previous year and is cooperating with authorities.

Mr Van Der Zwaan was an attorney with a law firm which worked with Ukraine's justice ministry in a case against the politician Yulia Tymoshenko. He is also the son-in-law of German Khan, a Ukrainian-Russian billionaire and businessman.

He is also accused of lying about the failure to turn over an email communication to the special counsel's office.

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Tymoshenko is a former Ukrainian prime minister who was tried and jailed for fraud in proceedings European governments labeled politically motivated.

The Justice Department asked the firm for documents related to the report, the New York Times reported in September.

Deputy Trump campaign aide Rick Gates, center, departs federal court in Washington, Monday, Dec. 11, 2017.

Reportedly at the urging of former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort, the firm had helped put together a report on the political situation in Ukraine, which was used to help the country's Moscow-backed leader. She was freed after Yanukovych's ouster in 2014.

A plea hearing was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon in federal court in Washington.

Gates met Manafort almost three decades ago while he was an intern at Black, Manafort, Stone, Kelly - one of the most powerful lobbying firms in DC. The Skadden team was headed by Gregory Craig, a partner who had worked as President Barack Obama's White House counsel from 2009 to 2010 and for President Bill Clinton during his impeachment.

Gates would be the third person in President Donald Trump's circle to agree to corporate with Mueller's ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.


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