Robert Mueller team seems to be running on multiple tracks at once. This week came news that aside from Rick Gates, who plead guilty and got a substantially good deal for promising to flip on Paul Manafort, another name, Alex Van Der Zwaan got caught lying to the FBI. Manafort et al were working for the Ukrainian government but did not report their income. When the investigators came, they lied about it:
According to an October indictment, Manafort laundered the money he was paid by [Ukrainian President Viktor] Yanukovych’s Party of Regions into the U.S. using an extensive network of offshore bank accounts.
In 2012, Manafort hired Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom, an international law firm, to write a report aimed at determining whether the 2011 trial of Yanukovych’s political rival Yulia Tymoshenko on charges of embezzlement and abuse of power met international legal standards. The firm sent an intermediary, Van Der Zwaan, the Dutch son-in-law of Russian-Ukrainian oligarch German Khan, to Ukraine in 2012 to investigate, according to the Kyiv Post.
The Yanukovych government’s payments to Skadden, like its payments to Manafort for his consulting and lobbying work, have come under scrutiny by the U.S. Justice Department. In June 2017, Skadden returned over $500,000 to the Ukrainian government amid allegations that the money it received from Ukraine’s former Justice Minister Oleksandr Lavrynovych as payment for the Tymoshenko investigation had been transferred out of government coffers illegally. The reimbursement caught the eye of the Justice Department, which asked Skadden in September for more information about its work for Yanukovych in 2012.
One month later, Mueller’s team accused Manafort and Gates of using “one of their offshore accounts to funnel $4 million to pay secretly” for the 300-page Tymoshenko report. Manafort has denied all of the charges, but Skadden could shed more light on the extent to which Manafort was involved in hiring and paying the firm on Yanukovych’s behalf.
Van Der Zwaan was a lawyer working at that firm.
Manafort was also the Trump’s campaign manager in the summer of 2016. Rumors had it that he knew something about the Russian’s scheme to interfere with the American elections that year but refused to talk. His indictment could be one way to get him to talk.