, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Belgium born half Russian-half Dutch attorney, Alex Van Der Zwaan, recently married to the daughter of a Ukrainian-born Russian oligarch, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to lying to the Special Counsel’s Office about contacts with Richard Gates (business partner to Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort) and Person A, located in the Ukraine, with whom Van Der Zwaan communicated in Russian. Person A is described as a longtime business partner of Manafort and Gates. Person A might be Oleksandr Lavrynovych, justice minister under Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled to Russia in 2014, or, more likely, a key link between Manafort-Gates-Van Der Zwaan and Lavrynovych.

An excellent Dutch public broadcasting documentary, “The Dubious Friends of Donald Trump” about Trump’s Russian ties found connections to the Netherlands: https://zembla.bnnvara.nl/nieuws/the-dubious-friends-of-donald-trump-the-russians?npo_cc=126&

Van Der Zwaan reportedly speaks Russian, Dutch, English and French, which could be useful for international Russian money-laundering. His June 2017 marriage to the daughter of Russian oligarch-Alfa Bank co-founder and co-owner, German Khan, suggests that Khan, and perhaps others, have great confidence in him. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_van_der_Zwaan

Manafort, who has not been charged with a crime in Ukraine, is wanted by prosecutors to testify in a corruption case targeting Oleksandr Lavrynovych, who was justice minister under Viktor Yanukovych, the Moscow-friendly former president who fled to Russia in 2014. Prosecutors accuse Lavrynovych of illegally funneling more than $1.1 million in government funds to a powerful U.S. law firm, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom…. Lavrynovych had hired the U.S. law firm in 2011 to review the jailing of then-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who was sentenced to seven years in prison for allegedly brokering an unfavorable gas deal with Russia. Her sentence was viewed by much of the international community — including Russia — as political in nature. Tymoshenko was released in February 2014 and later reelected to parliament….” Excerpted from “Ukraine Wants To Question Manafort, But Says Requests To U.S. Have Gone Unanswered” November 02, 2017 17:07 GMT, by Iana Polianska and Christopher Miller https://www.rferl.org/a/ukraine-wants-to-question-manafort-unanswered-trump-indictment/28831822.html

U.S. Department of State concerned about Skadden findings on Tymoshenko case 14-12-2012 16:27 Spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State Victoria Nuland expressed concern over the report by the American firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, whose lawyers have not found political motives in the trial of Ukraine’s former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

She said this during a briefing on Thursday, according to UKRINFORM. “By confining themselves to simply looking at the paper trial records and ignoring the larger political context in which the trial took place, our concern is that Skadden Arps lawyers were obviously not going to find political motivation if they weren’t looking for it. The report also fails to consider the selective nature of the trials, those who were chosen for trials against Tymoshenko and her – and former members of her government,” she said. She also noted that the position of the U.S. administration regarding selective prosecution in Ukraine remains unchanged. According to Nuland, the study by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom “was incomplete and doesn’t give an accurate picture.” https://web.archive.org/web/20170321034959/http://old.nrcu.gov.ua/en/148/518590

Nuland comes up in the Navalny corruption video about Deripaska, who is linked to Manafort, and an important Kremlin official: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2018/02/12/navalny-video-about-russian-oligarch-kremlin-official-bribery-and-trump-campaign-link-now-banned-in-russia/

He features in a Wikileaks US Diplomatic Cable: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2018/02/21/german-khan-and-the-godfather/

Additional information continues after the Statement of Offense

This and more at the US Special Counsel Office’s web site: https://www.justice.gov/sco The Dept. of Justice didn’t bother to post a news release.

From the US State Department Transcript:
QUESTION: Can we go to Ukraine?


QUESTION: You are familiar with the Skadden report? I’m wondering if the – this report, as you will know, says that there is no evidence that there was any political motivation in the prosecution of Former Prime Minister Tymoshenko. I’m wondering if you agree with that since it seems to differ with the Administration’s opinion over this, including Secretary Clinton’s. I’m wondering whether you agree with the report or if you think that the Ukrainian Government got what it paid for here.

MS. NULAND: I would tend to side towards toward the latter there. By confining themselves to simply looking at the paper trial records and ignoring the larger political context in which the trial took place, our concern is that Skadden Arps lawyers were obviously not going to find political motivation if they weren’t looking for it. The report also fails to consider the selective nature of the trials, those who were chosen for trials against Tymoshenko and her – and former members of her government.

QUESTION: So your – the Administration’s concerns about this prosecution remain that it —

MS. NULAND: Correct.

QUESTION: And do you think that basically the Ukrainians succeeded in buying a former White House counsel?

MS. NULAND: I can’t speak to the relationship that the Ukrainian Government has with a private law firm in the United States. You can talk to the Ukrainians about that.

QUESTION: Well, no, I’m just wondering if you – but you – when you said at the very beginning that you tended to lean toward the latter, the latter meaning that the Ukrainian Government bought —

MS. NULAND: Frankly I —

QUESTION: — a positive review from a team of lawyers headed by someone who at least was a very respected member of a previous administration. So I’m just wondering if there’s more you might be able to say about foreign governments purchasing positive reviews from —

MS. NULAND: I haven’t seen the invoices on this. Whomever – whoever commissioned this study, whatever the mandate for the study was, it was incomplete and doesn’t give an accurate picture.” https://web.archive.org/web/20170427113527/https://2009-2017.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2012/12/202021.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Nuland https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Kagan

The head of the team of lawyers mentioned above is apparently Greg Craig. While Greg Craig had been part of the defense legal team during Clinton’s impeachment, he was a major supporter of Obama in 2008, having urged him to run for President. In 2008, “During the campaign, Craig ‘seemed on a mission to destroy Hillary’s political future,’…. “. However, he was ousted from the Obama Whitehouse within less than a year and later went to Skadden Arps et.al. where he worked for Goldman Sachs. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregory_B._Craig See too: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-20/skadden-arps-lawyer-is-charged-with-role-in-u-s-russia-probe

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland said in Kyiv Wednesday that she was encouraged by Ukraine’s commitment to reforms but stressed that steps must be taken to counter corruption. “Overall, I go home encouraged by the commitment of all the political forces to continuing and accelerating reform, economic reform, anti-corruption reform, in particular judicial reform… It’s time to start locking up people who have ripped off the Ukrainian population for too long and it is time to eradicate the cancer of corruption,” she said….” (See: “US Urges Ukraine to Jail Corrupt Officials” April 27, 2016 12:33 PM, by Isabela Cocoli, https://www.voanews.com/a/ukraine-nuland/3305145.html )

Zembla’s marvelous documentary series: “The Dubious Friends of Donald Trump” Part 1: http://youtu.be/1bEdMuKq30I Part 2: http://youtu.be/gvd7PqI_Lx0 Part 3: http://youtu.be/oqesw5kwEow

Former Connecticut AG from 1991-2011, US Senator “Blumenthal Statement on Indictment of Alex Van Der Zwaan Tuesday, February 20, 2018
[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) released the following statement in response to new charges filed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller against Alex Van Der Zwaan, a lawyer who has previously worked with Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort and campaign aide Rick Gates:
“If you lie, if you destroy evidence, you will be caught and you will be held accountable. Special Counsel Mueller is proceeding meticulously and methodically, pursuing a long-term strategy of increasing pressure on key witnesses. This indictment sends a signal to both Paul Manafort and Rick Gates: cooperate or risk greater trouble in the future. The unmistakable message is that the Special Counsel is making steady, solid progress despite the deceptive attacks by Trump sycophants seeking to derail or discredit his investigation,” Blumenthal said.

Emphasis our own throughout.