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Former Skadden London lawyer caught up in Trump-Russia probe struck off for lying to FBI

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City solicitor Alex van der Zwaan accepts professional ban following short jail spell

Alex van der Zwaan

A former associate at Skadden has been banned from practising law after lying to FBI investigators probing links between Donald Trump and the Russian government.

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) found that Alex van der Zwaan, who was based at the US giant’s London office, had failed to uphold the rule of law and act with integrity, as required by professional rules.

Van der Zwaan, 34, pleaded guilty last year to lying to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. A US court sentenced him to a month in jail.

A Dutch citizen with Russian roots, van der Zwaan started with Skadden in 2007. By 2012 he was working on a politically sensitive report for the government of Ukraine, a Skadden client.

The work drew the Russian-speaking solicitor into the murky world of Ukrainian politics, which bled into the Mueller investigation. Van der Zwaan worked with Mueller targets Rick Gates and Paul Manafort, at one point even considering leaving his lucrative job at Skadden to work directly for them.

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When the activities of Gates and Manafort attracted Mueller’s interest, FBI investigators interviewed van der Zwaan about his work with them. The eight-hour grilling took place in a high security building in Washington DC, with four Skadden lawyers facing FBI agents “who sat with their guns and their handcuffs visible”.

According to an agreed statement of facts put before the disciplinary tribunal, van der Zwaan tried to cover up relevant calls and emails “to ensure Skadden did not find out about the communication concerning his prospective employment with Mr Gates and Mr Manafort”.

He also failed to produce an email sent to him by Manafort associate Konstantine Kilimnik, a former Russian intelligence officer.

When this came out, van der Zwaan was prosecuted for providing false information to the FBI and Skadden sacked him for gross misconduct.

KCL graduate Van der Zwaan told the tribunal that he had acted “completely out of character”, pointing in mitigation to the fact that he had been President of the Law Society in his final year. He said that he had cracked under the strain of intense FBI questioning and made the “catastrophic decision” to lie with an eye on the Skadden lawyers in the room, rather than the investigators.

But he ultimately accepted that a strike-off was justified. The tribunal, noting that van der Zwaan’s conduct was “in clear breach of the Principles and was also dishonest”, made the order accordingly and fined him £3,000 costs.

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23 Comments

Anonymous

Old news… thx LC.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Now he just looks like a naughty boy!

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Being an fbi agent would be so cool.

(4)(1)

WarmMilk

I thought the same way about becoming a barrister. It turns out, it’s pretty shit.

(2)(0)

RealDonaldTrump

Venerable van der Zwaan is a victim of FAKE NEWS CNN! Some really bad hombres trying to prop up failing ratings!! Keep America Great

(16)(2)

The wacky ambassador

Can confirm.

(3)(0)

Anonymous

He looks like the sort of person that is going. straight to Hell.

(7)(0)

Anonymous

He is probably going to Miami or Bali, considering his wife is a daughter of a billionaire.

(22)(1)

Anonymous

On the way to Hell.

(3)(1)

Anonymous

No. The picture looks like he’s soiling himself on purpose to spite somebody.

(5)(0)

Anonymous

His hair is just too bouffant.

(5)(0)

Pat Bateman

Impressive haircut. Very nice.

(12)(1)

Anonyman

People still believe that Trump and Russia have been conspiring together? Laughable, the Left never know when to drop it do they?

SAD!

(9)(9)

ZONE 1

In other news, Britain has triggered Article 50 last week.

Oh wait, no sorry it’s not 2017, is it.

(18)(0)

ZONE 1

I believe in taking care of myself, and a balanced diet and a rigorous exercise routine. In the morning, if my face is a little puffy, I’ll put on an ice pack while doing my stomach crunches. I can do a thousand now.

(35)(0)

Anonymous

What do KCL and President of Law Soc have to do with any of it?

(1)(0)

Linda the photoshop expert

Transferable skills tho.

(3)(0)

DoYourJobPeasant

You just stick to photoshopping, Linda.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Raised black lettering, subtle colouring and water mark.

(6)(0)

Anonymous

Presumably he’s off to work in The Trump Organization as a legal compliance consultant/officer specialising in NDAs…

(0)(0)

Anonymous

See you next Tuesday, budeh

(1)(0)

Douche

Used to work with him at Skadden. Total douche.

(1)(0)

Comments are closed.

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