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Dutch lawyer is first sentenced in Mueller's US-Russia probe

04 April 2018

Dutch attorney Alexander Van der Zwaan was ordered Tuesday to serve 30 days in jail and pay a $20,000 fine in the first sentencing flowing from special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation.

The term is the first sentence handed down in the special counsel's investigation.

After his lies were called out, van der Zwaan gave investigators recordings of his conversations with Gates, "Person A" and a senior Skadden partner.

According to a two-page indictment released by the special counsel's office February 20, the Ukraine-connected attorney misled authorities about his most recent contact with Gates; deleted and failed to produce emails Mueller's team had requested; and misrepresented his involvement in an global law firm's report on former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in 2012.

He was wrapped into the special counsel's investigation last fall after his firm, Skadden Arps, began to cooperate in an investigation of Manafort and Gates' alleged contact with Ukrainians and Russians during the 2016 election.

Jackson said she recognized that van der Zwaan has been away from his family for months, but the defense's attempts to paint him as a tragic figure didn't ring true.

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The judge said van der Zwaan, unlike some defendants who have come before her, possesses the financial and emotional resources to weather hard times.

Van der Zwaan, the 33-year-old son-in-law of a Russian oligarch, pleaded guilty in February to lying to investigators about his work in Ukraine with former Trump campaign officials Paul Manafort and Rick Gates.

He looked the judge in the eye and said, "What I did was wrong".

"He is literally in limbo", Schwartz said.

Mueller's team said in a filing that "Van der Zwaan is in an unusual position of having information related to the office's investigation that is not widely known - including information that he knows first-hand due to his role in the conduct the office is investigating".

It's unclear when the next person charged in the Mueller probe might face sentencing, but the fact that van der Zwaan got jail time suggests they are likely to face stiff penalties.

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Manafort, who filed not guilty pleas for charges of money laundering, conspiracy, and making false claims about his foreign lobbying, has sought to dismiss the indictments against him by claiming the prosecution overstepped its authority.

Whether he committed any crimes "arising out of payments he received from the Ukrainian government before and during the tenure of President Viktor Yanukovych".

Van der Zwaan does have a prominent connection to Russian Federation beyond his work with Gates and Manafort - his father-in-law is Alfa Bank co-founder German Khan, one of the country's richest men.

The corporate lawyer was asked to produce a document to whitewash Yanukovich's arrest of Yulia Tymoshenko, a former prime minister who had mocked a Ukrainian court years before the 2016 elections.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.

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Dutch lawyer is first sentenced in Mueller's US-Russia probe