A lawyer has pleaded guilty to lying about his conversations with a former Trump campaign advisor in the Trump-Russia inquiry.
Dutchman Van der Zwaan, 33, admitted to Robert Mueller III’s special counsel to perjury through lying about a conversation he had in September of 2016 with former Trump campaign staffer Rick Gates. The conversation was related to their connections with a Russian-aligned Ukrainian political party.
He also came clean about a series of emails he deleted that prosecutors and been searching for.
This will intensify pressure on Gates and his business confidante, Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, both of whom have been charged with lying to federal prosecutors over their ties with former Ukranian president Viktor F. Yanukovych, who was aligned with Russia.
A Dutch national, the wealthy Mr. van der Zwaan‘s father-in-law is Russian oligarch German Khan, with prominent ties to the Russian financial and industrial sectors.
Van der Zwaan is accused of lying to prosecutors about his law-firm’s defense of Yanukovych’s incarceration of his political rival, former Prime Minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko. The prosecution claims that the defense was misleading in how they reported their treatment of Tymoshenko.
Rick Gates and Paul Manafort have been accused of funding the false report, which supported Russian interests in Ukraine.
Van der Zwaan has been accused of lying about contact he had with Mr. Gates. He has also been accused of being a major player in the whitewashing of the report about the handling of Ms. Tymoshenko’s prosecution. He will be sentenced on April 3.
Robert Mueller’s team is aggressively prosecuting those who have obstructed his investigation. His special counsel, investigating the Trump campaign’s ties to the Russian government, has brought seven criminal cases to trial since October. Last week, he indicted 13 Russian nationals and two companies, accusing them of aiding and abetting the Trump campaign by using fake news on social media websites to influence popular opinion.