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21 February 2018, 06:40 | Floyd Cook
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Van Der Zwaan, who is expected to plead guiltyon Tuesday afternoon, once said on his LinkedIn page that he was an associate in the London office of the global law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom.
Mr Gates was deputy to Paul Manafort, the former campaign manager for Donald Trump in the run-up to the presidential election.
Gates and Manafort were indicted a year ago and accused of conspiring to launder millions of dollars they earned from political consulting work in Ukraine. The indictment alleged that Manafort and Gates's work for Yanukoyvch included lobbying in Congress in connection with the "roll out of a report concerning the Tymoshenko trial commissioned by the Government of Ukraine".
The chargingdocument said that while answering Federal Bureau of Investigation agents' questions about his work on the report, van der Zwaan lied that he last communicated with Gates in mid-August and another unnamed person, only identified as "Person A", in 2014.
Van der Zwaan's conversation with the special counsel's office in which he allegedly lied happened three days after Manafort and Gates were charged with crimes related to their work for Ukrainian politicians and other business.
Van der Zwaan is accused of misleading investigators about the last time he talked with Gates when he was questioned November 3 by USA authorities regarding the work. The man who commissioned the report was Paul Manafort, who served as Trump's campaign manager until he was sacked in August 2016 amid revelations about extensive lobbying work for a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party. Manafort was forced to step down as Trump's campaign chairman in August 2016, but Gates stayed and worked on Trump's transition team.
The Ukrainians asked the U.S. Justice Department for help in questioning Manafort and Skadden lawyers who worked on the report.
Van der Zwaan was charged with "willfully and knowingly" making "false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements and representations" to federal investigators about his work for the law firm Skadden, Arps, Meagher, & Flom LLP and Affiliates in 2012.
Both Gates and Manafort have been charged by special counsel Robert Mueller with money laundering and violations of tax and lobbying laws and have pleaded not guilty. The communication occurred at a time, during the campaign, when very few other serves in the world were trying to communicate with the Trump server.
The law firm where a lawyer charged by special counsel Robert Mueller used to work says it fired him past year and has been cooperating with authorities. Skadden's report that year largely supported the charges against her. Manafort then hired the Podesta Group and Mercury Communications to lobby U.S. officials to support Yanukovych, using the report.
Van der Zwaan represents the interests of numerous Russian oligarchs.
And court records filed on February 16 show a California man had pleaded guilty to identity fraud in connection with a so-called Russian "troll factory" that created fictitious accounts on Facebook and other social media in what USA authorities call an effort to sow discord in American politics. According toreporting by the New York Times, Manafort had arranged for Skadden to write the report in an effort to counter allegations that Yanukovych's government prosecuted Tymoshenko for political reasons.
Skadden produced a report in 2012 that displayed a defiant view of the prosecution and conviction of Tymoshenko. Some reports say he is expected to enter a guilty plea.
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