Alex Van der Zwaan, a 33-year-old Dutch lawyer based out of London — who turns out to be the son-in-law of one of Putin’s top oligarchs — pleaded guilty this afternoon to lying about his contacts with indicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s deputy, Rick Gates, who now has a plea deal with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller and is cooperating with the Russia investigation.
In their charges, Mueller’s team alleges that Van der Zwaan made false statements to the FBI and Mueller’s team.
Van der Zwaan told investigators that he had last communicated with Gates in August of 2016 in a meaningless text message and with someone called “Person A” in 2014 to discuss that person’s family.
The prosecution alleges that Van der Zwaan in fact held and recorded subsequent phone calls with Gates and “Person A” and then destroyed related emails and other communications.
Van der Zwaan, whose guilty plea constitutes a felony conviction, was engaged in 2012 by Manafort and Gates for work on behalf of the Putin-backed Ukrainian then-prime minister Viktor Yanukovich.
Yanukovich wrongly imprisoned his predecessor Yulia Tymoshenko, in order to help finalize a Russian oil deal with the Ukraine and facilitate Russia’s 2014 annexation of the Crimea.
The work Van der Zwaan and his firm, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, did for Manafort and Gates included producing a report used to rationalize Yanukovich’s imprisonment of Tymoshenko.
Both sides publicly claimed the report cost $12,000, but it later turned out to have cost $1 million.
Van der Zwaan’s father-in-law is the Ukrainian-Russian oil billionaire, German Khan — who sued the Fusion GPS investigation firm for defamation after their release of the Steele dossier — has a rolodex of close cronies that reads like a who’s who of the Russia investigation.
The FBI has investigated Kahn for “electronic communications between a server and the Trump Organization.”
The prosecution filed what is known as “a criminal information” against Van der Zwaan, which usually signifies that a defendant is cooperating with an investigation — bad news for Manafort and, potentially, Trump.
The house of cards is falling all around America’s Kremlin-installed Manchurian candidate and his inner circle.
With the 2018 midterms in jeopardy of further Russian interference, justice cannot be served soon enough.