Lawyer charged in Trump-Russia inquiry



Trump-Russia inquiry: Lawyer Alex van der Zwaan charged

AFP

Special counsel Robert Mueller has charged 19 people so far

A London-based lawyer has been charged with making false statements to investigators looking at links between Donald Trump’s election campaign team and Russia.Court documents allege that Alex van der Zwaan made the false statements when questioned about his work for Ukraine’s Ministry of Justice.He is the 19th person to be charged by special counsel Robert Mueller.On Friday, 13 Russians were charged with tampering in the 2016 US election.What is the accusation?Court documents say Mr van der Zwaan worked for a firm tasked in 2012 with preparing a report for Ukraine’s Ministry of Justice on the trial of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.Ms Tymoshenko was jailed the year before for criminally exceeding her powers, charges she said were politically motivated.The report concluded that her trial was justified and that due process was followed.Court papers filed in Washington DC on Friday but made public on Tuesday allege that Mr van der Zwaan:deleted or did not produce emails sought by the special counsel’s office
made a false statement about when he was last in contact with “Person A”, who has not been identified
made a false statement about when he was last in contact with former Trump aide Rick Gates, who has already been charged by the special counsel with conspiracy to launder money

Mr Gates and his former colleague Paul Manafort – who went on to become Mr Trump’s campaign chief – have also been charged by the special counsel with acting as “unregistered agents” of Ukrainian politician Viktor Yanukovych and his party.Mr Yanukovych was a bitter rival of Ms Tymoshenko and defeated her to become president in 2010. He was later ousted.Trump Russia affair: Key questions answered
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Mr van der Zwaan’s lawyers have not yet commented. He is expected to appear in court later on Tuesday.Who is Alex van der Zwaan?He has worked for the New York law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom based in London.Last year, he married the art critic Eva Khan, whose father German Khan co-founded the Alfa Group, one of Russia’s largest investment groups.An article on their wedding in the Russian edition of Tatler magazine last year said that Mr van der Zwaan had Russian roots and worked with Russian oligarchs.On Friday, it was announced that 13 Russians had been charged by Mr Mueller. They are alleged to have posed as Americans, and opened financial accounts in their name, as well as organising and promoting political rallies within the United States.Russia’s foreign minister dismissed the charges as “blather” and President Trump said it was proof that there was no collusion between his camp and Russia.