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Trump-Russia probe: Former City lawyer jailed for 30 days

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Ex-Skadden associate admitted misleading FBI investigators

A former City lawyer has become the first person to be jailed as a result of an investigation into alleged collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign team.

Alex van der Zwaan, who until last year was an associate at the London office of US law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, was accused of, among other things, lying to FBI investigators about his communications with former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates. Trump has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

In February we reported that Belgium-born van der Zwaan had, as part of a plea deal, admitted one count of making a false statement to investigators. Yesterday, the 33-year-old former City lawyer was sentenced to 30 days in prison, fined $20,000 (£14,000) and handed two months of supervised release.

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According to reports, van der Zwaan’s lawyer had argued that a fine was sufficient punishment. But US district judge Amy Berman Jackson didn’t agree, reportedly saying:

“I’ve thought about it, but I just can’t say: ‘pay a fine at the door and go’. We’re not talking about a traffic ticket. This is lying in a federal criminal investigation.”

Van der Zwaan — who is married to art critic Eva Khan, the daughter of the Russian billionaire German Khan — reportedly told the court: “What I did was wrong. I apologise to this court, and I apologise to my wife.”

According to the ex-City lawyer’s now defunct Skadden profile, van der Zwaan specialised in litigation, congressional investigations and government policy. He completed the Legal Practice Course (LPC) at BPP Law School in 2007 and speaks four languages: Dutch, English, French and Russian.

As news broke of van der Zwaan’s guilty plea, a Skadden spokesperson said:

“The firm terminated its employment of Alex van der Zwaan in 2017 and has been cooperating with authorities in connection with this matter.”

The New York-headquartered outfit offers around ten London-based training contracts annually and pays its rookies £118,000 upon qualification.

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28 Comments

Anonymous

So how is the partner that’s really responsible for this being dealt with?

Martha

He has great hair. He has great glasses. He is dressed sharp. This is not the type of man that should be in jail.

Anonymous

Are you daft? You can’t get out of going to jail on the basis you have nice hair or glasses. That is preposterous. Sket.

Anonymous

Don’t forget that he also speaks 4 languages!

Tyrone

He will get on just fine.

Anonymous

drop one or two soaps

Anonymous

i like his hair, but seriously have you gone mad

Reactor

Any other physical features which should be considered before sentencing.

Anonymous

Do you work at Reed Smith perchance, Martha?

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

Anonymous

Surely he’s wearing Jolyon’s spectacles…?

Anonymous

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Poor fella

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Anonymous 2

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Anonymous

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Rarararara

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Anonymous

🛀

Anonymous

He got the job paying ££££££££ at Skadden because he’s a loaded Belgian aristocrat who speaks four languages to business proficiency.

It’s not about the quality of LLBs, it’s not about getting lucky in the job market.

It’s a global scam that is relentlessly rigged against native Brits.

Just console yourself you never stood a chance.

And enjoy the havoc Brexit and Trump will wreak on these awful people.

Anonymous

“Native Brits” don’t deserve any more of an opportunity in big/global law than Belgians, Belarusians, or Bahrainis.

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

Anonymous

London is the capital of Britain.

Employers in London should employ at least 50% Brits.

Full stop.

Anonymous

Fuck that.

Anonymous

Why? We Brits have become far to comfortable and clearly entitled to contribute to the high level of competition required for the City to thrive as a global economic hub. Hell, you can’t even get the capital right: London (as in the City of) is not the capital, Westminster is. Jesus.

Anonymous

It also helps that his father-in-law is a billionaire!!!

Anonymous

With his Russian language skills and contacts there will be plenty of “businessmen” who with give him lucrative employment as a Mr Fit It when he gets out. The spell of bird will be kudos in that world.

JC

Who said he’s guilty anyway? What happened to giving people a fair trial before throwing them in a jail cell for the next few years?

Anonymous

I mean he did plead guilty…

Anonymous

JC you dumb f*k

Jc

Yes, he may have pleaded guilty but how do we know he actually was guilty? Was this a double bluff perhaps? It would certainly be very interesting to see his facial expressions while he was entering his plea..

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