Dutch lawyer is first sentenced in Mueller's US-Russia probe

Apr 04, 2018, 01:34
Dutch lawyer is first sentenced in Mueller's US-Russia probe

Alex van der Zwaan, a lawyer who used to work closely with Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort, is the first person sentenced in connection with the Mueller investigation into Russian Federation, the Trump campaign, and the 2016 election.

The 33-year-old Van der Zwaan admitted to lying about his last contact with Gates and the Russian identified by prosecutors only as "Person A" - but whose biographical details match up with Konstantin Kilimnik, a longtime associate of Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. Van der Zwaan also fibbed when he said he didn't know why the firm didn't give Mueller an email exchanged between him and the unidentified person.

The Dutch son-in-law of one of Russia's richest men has been jailed and fined $US20,000 ($A26,000) for lying to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigators about contacts with an official in President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign.

"That Gates and Person A were directly communicating in September and October 2016 was pertinent to the investigation", prosecutors said in van der Zwaan's pre-sentencing court document.

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"It is unusual conduct to make a false statement, and then immediately provide proof of a false statement", Schwartz said, saying for if it were another defendant those tapes "could have found their way to the bottom of the Thames" River in London.

The media may hype the van der Zwaan sentencing as proof that Mueller is "working up to the head of the snake" as part of his quest to take down President Trump.

Manafort is awaiting trial and Gates, who pleaded guilty to reduced charges, is cooperating with Mueller.

United States intelligence agencies say Russian President Vladimir Putin himself was behind a hacking and disinformation effort to disrupt the election and boost Trump's chances of winning.

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Van der Zwaan's story is convoluted, and involves a Ukrainian internal political dispute from a decade ago. In the process of looking into Manafort and Gates's ties to the Kremlin, Mueller's team started investigating the Skadden Arps report.

Van der Zwaan last June married Eva Khan, the daughter of Khan.

In pleading guilty, van der Zwaan admitted that he withheld and deleted emails, and also that he lied to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents about previous communications with Manafort protege Gates and a person who worked for Manafort in Ukraine identified as "Person A".

His lawyers had asked that he be able to return to London by August, when his wife is due to deliver their first child. He admitted to misleading Mueller's prosecutors and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents about his discussions with Rick Gates, Trump's former deputy campaign chairman. Yanukovych had imprisoned Tymoshenko, a political rival, after a gas supply controversy in 2009 involving Russian Federation.

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Prosecutors have alleged that Manafort and Gates used an offshore account to secretly pay $4 million for the report.