Published: Thu, February 22, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Lawyer linked to ex-Trump adviser pleads guilty to lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation

Lawyer linked to ex-Trump adviser pleads guilty to lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation

WASHINGTON-The special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election charged an attorney Tuesday with lying to federal investigators about his interactions with a former Trump campaign official.

The interest in Van der Zwaan is likely linked to his work with Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager.

But legal experts said the charge would put more pressure on the former Trump aides to cooperate with Mueller as he looks into whether Russian Federation tried to influence the election in favor of Trump by hacking the emails of leading Democrats and distributing disinformation and propaganda online.

Until previous year, Alex van der Zwaan was an associate at the London office of USA law firm Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom.

Zwaan, a 33-year-old Dutch national, worked for the New York-headquartered law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom at its London office.

Van der Zwaan did not have a lawyer listed on the public court docket.

The Tymoshenko report first appeared in the charges filed against Manafort and Gates last October. Like van der Zwaan, they have yet to be sentenced and have committed to cooperating with the special counsel.

Khan, who was born in Kiev, shares control of one of Russia's biggest financial and industrial investment conglomerate, Alfa Group, with fellow billionaires Mikhail Fridman and Alexei Kuzmichev. He was on a recent Treasury Department roster of prominent Russian officials and oligarchs. But according to the court filing, Van Der Zwaan and Gates spoke the next month. According to reporting by the New York Times, Manafort had arranged for Skadden to write the report in an effort to counter allegations that Yanukovych's government prosecuted Tymoshenko for political reasons.

Manafort, who was Trump's campaign manager for nearly five months in 2016, and Gates, who was deputy campaign manager, were indicted by Mueller's office in October.

Manafort worked with other firms as well as part of his consulting work for Yanukovych.

The request by the Ukrainian prosecutor was part of a criminal corruption investigation into the government of Yanukovych.

Prosecutors also say that Van Der Zwaan lied about his talks with someone identified only as "Person A". He additionally said his last correspondence with somebody depicted as "Individual A" - a Ukrainian-based partner of Manafort - was in 2014; he additionally guaranteed that he didn't know why a 2016 email trade with Person A was not swung over to Mueller. The phone conversation, conducted in Russian, was important enough that van der Zwaan recorded it, according to court papers.

It is unclear what role van der Zwaan played in crafting the report. "Specialists were instructed to post content that focused on 'politics in the United States of America, '" one section of the document reads, adding that those involved with the interference were told to "use any opportunity to criticise Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump - we support them)'". He did not elaborate. That indictment also charged Manafort and Gates with secretly funding the Skadden report by funneling $4 million through an offshore account.

The FBI uncovered the transactions primarily in 2014 and 2015 as part of an investigation to tackle global kleptocracy, and agents interviewed Manafort at his attorney's office in Washington D.C. At the time, Manafort denied wrongdoing and said he knew nothing of Yanukovych's government reportedly stealing money, according to internal FBI emails. Craig and Sloan both declined to comment.

Ms Tymoshenko was jailed the year before for criminally exceeding her powers, charges she said were politically motivated. The firm told the Times a year ago that the refund represented "the balance of Ukraine's payment, which had been held in escrow for future work". The firm said the refund represented "the balance of Ukraine's payment, which had been held in escrow for future work". The judge scheduled sentencing for April 3.

Up to now, Mueller has accused 13 Russians and three Russian companies of meddling in the 2016 elections.

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