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

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By Thomas Connelly on

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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