First arrest made in Mueller's Russia probe

Team SoOLEGAL 4 Apr 2018 12:33pm

First arrest made in Mueller's Russia probe

The first arrest has been made in the ongoing probe into Russian intrusion in the US, 2016’s presidential election. Alex van der Zwaan, a Dutch lawyer on Tuesday was sentenced to 30 days in jail and asked to pay a $20,000 fine following the punishment handed down in Russia investigation.

Zwaan was pleaded guilty for lying about his contacts with a former Trump campaign official Rick Gates and a Russian operative.

Van der Zwaan was an attorney with Skadden Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in 2012, when he was being made part of the firm’s legal team for carrying out work for the Ukraine government through Gates and Gates’ business associate Paul Manafort.

Manafort after becoming chairman of Trump's 2016 election campaign took Gates as his deputy. Both Zwaan and Gates had interaction with a person – identified as “Person A” – they knew to be a former official of Russia's GRU intelligence agency, prosecutors said.

However, Van der Zwaan continuously lied to investigators about his contacts with both Gates and "Person A," prosecutors said. But once Van der Zwaan lies were caught, he began cooperating with the investigators. This is when Zwaan shared recordings of his conversations with Gates, "Person A" and with a senior Skadden partner.

Though the details of those conversations remain disclosed, court documents suggest “they support the idea of extensive contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia during the election than the White House has admitted”.

Van der Zwaan was initially sentenced to five years in prison, but was later given a light sentence because of his cooperation with Mueller's probe.

According to US intelligence agencies, Russian President Putin himself was involved in efforts to disrupt the 2016 U.S. presidential election, which improved Trump's chances of winning.

The case further adds to the rising pressure the investigation is putting on Trump, his family and top aides. 

Tagged: Russia investigation   Mueller   Russia   Trump campaign   election campaign   Van der Zwaan  
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