This is Alex Van der Zwann. He is an attorney. He was with the huge New York firm of Skadden Arps. He is wealthy. He is well connected with Russian oligarchs. He is married to the daughter of German Khan, a billionaire and owner of Alfa Group, Russia’s largest financial and industrial investment group. Van der Zwann was charged with lying to the FBI about his contacts with Rick Gates, who served as a top official on President Trump’s campaign and a longtime business partner of former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
In a court appearance, the 33-year-old pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to investigators, a felony.
Van der Zwaan’s guilty plea will likely help Mueller build his case against Paul Manafort, the former chairman of President Donald Trump’s campaign.
The plea deal could spell trouble for Paul Manafort, the former chairman of President Donald Trump’s campaign who has been charged with 12 counts related to money laundering, tax fraud, conspiracy against the US, and failure to register as a foreign agent. No doubt the attorney has confidential information that Manafort thought was privledged and confidential. However if Van der Zwaan has pled guilty to a felony he has probably already resigned himself to the fact that he won’t be able to practice law in the future. If his future as an attorney has ended, he may be willing to disclose otherwise confidential information to save time in jail. This is exactly the type of risk that should scare Donald Trump.
Mueller’s inquiry threatens the delicate balance that Skadden has struck between lucrative sources of revenue. The firm has made huge profits from corporate work for image-conscious United States companies, while also representing riskier international clients, such as Russian oligarchs and companies with close ties to President Vladimir V. Putin and former Soviet states.
Mr. van der Zwaan, 33, acknowledged that he misled investigators about his communications related to the firm’s work for the Russia-aligned former president of Ukraine, Viktor F. Yanukovych, done in tandem with the former Trump campaign aides Paul Manafort and Rick Gates. Both were indicted on money laundering and other charges related to their work in Ukraine. Mr. Manafort has denied wrongdoing; Mr. Gates pleaded guilty on Friday and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.