Dutch lawyer Alexander Van der Zwaan is set Tuesday to become the first person charged in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe to face a sentencing hearing.
Van der Zwaan, a London-based lawyer who is the son of a Russian oligarch, has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI investigators about his communications with former Trump deputy campaign manager Rick Gates.
He faces up to five years in jail, but is expected to face far less, if any prison time, due to his cooperation with investigators. Prosectors are recommending he get zero to six months in jail.
He arrived at a federal courthouse in Washington D.C. for his hearing Tuesday morning.
Mueller’s team revealed in a court filing that he held back information about his communications with Gates, as well with a person identified as ‘Person A’ – a former Russian intelligence officer.
BUTTONED UP: Alex van der Zwaan arrives Federal District Court in Washington, Tuesday, April 3, 2018 for his sentencing hearing
According to his criminal information, he admitted to willingly making ‘false, fictitious and fraudulent statements’ to the FBI. In fact, he spoke to both Gates and ‘Person A’ in September 2016.
He used encrypted communications and recorded the call himself.
Van der Zwwan, 33, is a former lawyer for prominent law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.
Person A is believed to be Konstantin Kilimnik, a former employee and longtime associate of former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, who along with Gates is charged with an array of fraud and money laundering crimes.
Van der Zwwan, 33, has already pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI
Disgraced: Attorney Alex Van der Zwaan pleaded guilty to lying to Robert Mueller’s investigators. He arrived at the Washington D.C. federal courthouse ahead of a hearing where he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe achieved the first sentencing hearing Tuesday with someone charged in the investigation
Gates is cooperating with investigators and has pleaded guilty.
Van der Zwaan helped prepare a controversial report on the political rival of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. The report was about former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who was jailed by Yanukovych.
He is the son-in-law of Russian billionaire oligarch German Khan, owner of Alfa Group.
Khan is named in the notorious ‘golden showers’ dossier on Trump which was drawn up by British spy Christopher Steele, and is estimated byForbes to be worth $10 billion.
Khan is one of three oligarchs to appear in the infamous Steele Dossier who have sued a political intelligence firm over its release. They also sued BuzzFeed for publishing the dossier.
Alex Van Der Zwaan’s home in Bayswater in West London. He lives in one of London’s most exclusive areas and his father-in-law is estimated to be worth at least $10 billion
Khan was joined by two other oligarchs, Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven, in suing Fusion GPS, the firm that contracted with ex British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, who compiled the dossier.
Van der Zwwan also faces a fine of up to $250,000.
According to a statement of offense, Gates called Van Der Zwaan in September 2016 and told him to contact ‘Person A’ – who prosecutor Andrew Weissman identified in court as a Ukraine-based Manafort associate.
‘After the call, Gates sent Van Der Zwaan documents including a preliminary criminal complaint in Ukraine via an electronic application called Viber,’ according to the statement. Van Der Zwaan then called Person A and discussed in Russian that formal criminal charges might be brought against a former Ukrainian Minister of Justice, Law Firm A, and Manafort.
Van Der Zwaan recorded the call, according to the statement, then called the senior partner at his firm and partially recorded that call, before calling Gates and recording that call as well, taking notes each time.
But when asked for notes or emails by prosecutors, Van Der Zwaan ‘did not produce’ them to the law firm and ‘deleted and otherwise did not produce emails he possessed that he understood had been requested by either the Special Counsel’s Office or Law Firm A, or both.’
Among the emails he didn’t hand over was one, dated Sept. 12, 2016, written in Russian, where the person had asked Van Der Zwann to call using an encrypted app.
Although the documents do not identify ‘Person A,’ Mother Jones reported the person could be Konstantin Kilimnik, who was Manafort’s Ukraine-based business partner.
Manafort reached out to Kilimnik in April, soon after he was brought aboard the Trump campaign. ‘”How do we use to get whole?’ Manafort wrote. His attorney, Jason Maloni, told the Washington Post it was a reference to collecting on debts.
Van Der Zwaan married Eva Khan, German Khan’s daughter, at Luton Hoo Hotel, a posh estate outside of London. The festivities lasted three days. CNN reported that the pair are expecting a baby, one reason they might get leniency from the sentencing judge.
Although he is cooperating with investigators, he does not have a cooperation agreement that lays out the terms of his participation.