Alex van der Zwaan

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Alex van der Zwaan
BornSeptember 1984 (age 37)[1]
Brussels, Belgium[2]
EducationKing's College London (LLB)[4]
BPP University (LPC)[4]
OccupationAttorney (Disbarred)
EmployerSkadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (2007–2017)[5]
Criminal charge(s)Making false statements[6]
Criminal penalty
Criminal statusPardoned by Donald Trump; served sentence at FCI Allenwood Low, #35255-016;[7] subsequently deported.
Eva Khan
(m. 2017)
RelativesGerman Khan (father-in-law)

Alex Rolf van der Zwaan[8][9] (Dutch: [ˈaːlɛks fɑn dər ˈzʋaːn] (listen);[10] born September 1984)[1] is a Belgian-born Dutch attorney[2][1][11][12] formerly with the London branch of New York-based international law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.[2]

On 20 February 2018, he pleaded guilty[13][5][14] to one count of making a false statement to investigators while answering questions about Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.[5][2][15][6] He served 30 days in prison and was fined $20,000.[16][17][18] After serving his sentence, Van der Zwaan was deported to the Netherlands.[19] He was later pardoned in December 2020 by U.S. President Donald Trump.[20]

The Ukrainian Ministry of Justice was his firm's client and central to the indictment.[5][13][21] In 2017, Skadden Arps refunded $567,000 billed by the firm to the Government of Ukraine.[22]

Education and career[edit]

Van der Zwaan, a Dutch citizen,[11][2][1] was born in Brussels, Belgium,[2] in 1984. He received his LL.B. at King's College London in 2006,[4] and completing his Legal Practice Course at BPP Law School in 2007.[4][23] He was admitted to practice law as a solicitor in England and Wales in September 2009.[8][4]

He began working at the London office of the international law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in 2007.[5] At the firm, he worked on complex matters, including the freezing of assets of the rich, a legal tactic attempted by companies and billionaires in disputes with business partners.[23] He repeatedly assisted Ukrainian oligarch Gennadiy Bogolyubov, whose assets were at risk of being frozen by the London High Court on several occasions.[23][4][24]

His work at the firm also included representing corporations, individuals and sovereign entities in various matters, including high-value and complex commercial litigation and arbitration, and government agency investigations.[9][4] He assisted Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich's businesses in relation to mining assets in Ukraine.[24]

In November 2017, Van der Zwaan was fired from Skadden Arps for gross misconduct due to the false statements he made to the United States Special Counsel's Office.[25][26] On 3 July 2019, Van der Zwaan was struck off the Roll of Solicitors in England and Wales following a judgment of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal that he had acted dishonestly by knowingly and intentionally giving the Special Counsel's Office false information.[27][26]

Work on Skadden Arps' Ukrainian report, and criminal conviction[edit]

Van der Zwaan, who speaks Russian, was one of the eight attorneys[28] who worked on Skadden Arps's 2012 report, commissioned by the government of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych via Paul Manafort, that defended the prosecution, conviction and imprisonment of Yanukovych's rival, the country's former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.[29][13][30][31][5] Van der Zwaan worked closely with Gregory B. Craig in preparing the report, assisting with fact-finding and attending meetings in Ukraine.[22][26] He also served as rule-of-law consultant to the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine.[4] In a 2017 interview former United States ambassador to Ukraine John E. Herbst said that Skadden Arps "should have been ashamed" of the report, calling it "a nasty piece of work".[32]

In February 2018, Special Counsel investigation prosecutor Andrew Weissmann stated that, as part of Manafort's and Rick Gates's lobbying effort to improve Yanukovych's reputation in the United States, Van der Zwaan took an advance copy of the report in late July or early August 2012 without authorization, and gave it to a public-relations firm working for the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice—with one aim being to get the report published in The New York Times—and in September 2012 gave Gates talking points about the report.[25][5][29] Prosecutors also said Van der Zwaan deleted emails sought by the special counsel's office—such as emails between him and Manafort associate Konstantin Kilimnik (known as "Person A"), including one requesting that Van der Zwaan use encrypted communications and one from September 2016—rather than turning them over to Skadden Arps, which was gathering documents for the special counsel.[2][5][33][34][35]

In a 3 November 2017 interview with Special Counsel prosecutors and FBI agents, Van der Zwaan maintained that his last communication with Gates was an innocuous text in mid-August 2016 and that his last contact with Kilimnik was a 2014 discussion of the latter's family; prosecutors determined instead that he had discussed the 2012 Skadden Arps report with Gates and Kilimnik in September 2016 during phone calls that he surreptitiously recorded.[29][34][6][26] Van der Zwaan acknowledged to Special Counsel investigators in an interview that Gates had told him of Kilimnik's ties to the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), a Russian military intelligence agency.[36]

On 20 February 2018, Van der Zwaan pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to investigators.[5][2][15][6] In his plea, he admitted to email deletions, and to lying when he told investigators that he had only a "passive role in the rollout of the report".[29] The guilty plea did not include an agreement to cooperate with the Mueller investigation.[37]

At his sentencing hearing on 3 April 2018, he was sentenced to 30 days in prison followed by two months of supervised release, and fined $20,000.[38]

He was disbarred by the United Kingdom's Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal on 11 July 2019.[39]

In December 2020, U.S. President Donald Trump pardoned Van der Zwaan in an eleventh-hour pardon prior to the end of Trump's four-year presidential term.[40] The pardon rescinds his U.S. criminal record, allowing him to legally return to the United States.

Personal life[edit]

As of 2018, Van der Zwaan lives in London.[25] In June 2017, he married Eva Khan, daughter of the Russian billionaire German Khan, co-founder and co-owner of Alfa Group.[3][41][11][42] German Khan is suing BuzzFeed and the private investigation firm Fusion GPS over BuzzFeed's publication of the Trump–Russia dossier containing information about Trump's ties to Russia.[43] Van der Zwaan has Russian roots[41][11] and has worked with a number of Russian oligarchs.[44][41][11] In addition to Dutch, he speaks fluent English, Russian, and French.[29][8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "16 St Stephen's Gardens Limited". Companies House. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Dilanian, Ken; Williams, Pete; Winter, Tom; Connors, Tracy (20 February 2018). "Russia probe: Lawyer Alex van der Zwaan, oligarch's son-in-law, pleads guilty". NBC News. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  3. ^ a b Cukier, Eva; Valk, Guus (20 February 2018). "Nederlandse advocaat bekent schuld over liegen in Ruslandonderzoek". NRC Handelsblad (in Dutch). Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "Alex van der Zwaan". Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Archived from the original on 10 August 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Hsu, Spencer S.; Helderman, Rosalind S. (20 February 2018). "In Mueller probe, son-in-law of Russian businessman pleads guilty to false statements". The Washington Post. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d "United States of America v. Alex van der Zwaan". United States District Court for the District of Columbia. 16 February 2018. Archived from the original on 12 September 2019. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  7. ^ "Inmate Locator". Federal Bureau of Prisons. 8 May 2018. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  8. ^ a b c "Alex Rolf Van Der Zwaan". The Law Society. Archived from the original on 17 June 2018. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  9. ^ a b "Alex R. van der Zwaan". Newton Arbitration. 16 January 2017. Archived from the original on 22 February 2018. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  10. ^ In isolation, van is pronounced Dutch pronunciation: [v?n].
  11. ^ a b c d e "Trump-Russia inquiry: Lawyer Alex van der Zwaan pleads guilty". BBC News. 20 February 2018. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  12. ^ Elster, Kristian (20 February 2018). "Mueller sikter advokat for løgn i Russland-granskingen". NRK. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  13. ^ a b c Voreacos, David; Baker, Stephanie (20 February 2018). "Lawyer Charged With Lying in Mueller's Russia Probe". Bloomberg. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  14. ^ Viswanatha, Aruna; Quentin Wilber, Del (20 February 2018). "Associate of Gates Pleads Guilty to Lying to Mueller Team". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  15. ^ a b "The Latest: Attorney Pleads Guilty to Lying". U.S. News & World Report. Associated Press. 20 February 2018. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  16. ^ Johnson, Kevin (3 April 2018). "Lawyer connected to Russia election interference investigation receives 30-day sentence". USA Today. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  17. ^ LaFraniere, Sharon (3 April 2018). "Ex-Skadden Lawyer Is Sentenced to 30 Days in Russia Inquiry". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  18. ^ Gerstein, Josh (8 May 2018). "First Mueller convict reports to prison". Politico. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  19. ^ Polantz, Katelyn; Kopan, Tal. "Only person to serve time in Mueller investigation deported". CNN. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  20. ^ Haberman, Maggie; Schmidt, Michael S. (23 December 2020). "Trump Pardons Two Russia Inquiry Figures and Blackwater Guards". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  21. ^ Mangan, Dan; Breuninger, Kevin (20 February 2018). "Mueller charges attorney with lying to the FBI over contacts with former Trump campaign official". CNBC. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  22. ^ a b Kovensky, Josh (17 November 2017). "Justice Ministry investigation nets unexpected $567,000 windfall for state budget". Kyiv Post. Archived from the original on 25 April 2021. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  23. ^ a b c Garschagen, Melle (21 February 2018). "Nederlandse advocaat raakte verstrikt in Rusland-dossier". NRC Handelsblad (in Dutch). Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  24. ^ a b Shubber, Kadhim; Massoudi, Arash; Thompson, Barney (23 February 2018). "Skadden's oligarch work comes into focus after Mueller charges". Financial Times. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  25. ^ a b c Day, Chad; Tucker, Eric (20 February 2018). "Attorney admits he lied to Mueller's federal agents". Chicago Sun-Times. Associated Press. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  26. ^ a b c d Solicitors Regulation Authority v Van der Zwaan (Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal 2019-07-03).Text
  27. ^ "Solicitor jailed by US over Russia interview is struck off". Law Society. 12 July 2019. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  28. ^ "Skadden Arps Could be Subject to USDoJ Complaint over Ukrainian Deal". Law Fuel. 13 January 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  29. ^ a b c d e LaFraniere, Sharon; Vogel, Kenneth P. (20 February 2018). "Former Skadden Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Lying in Russia Investigation". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  30. ^ Eckel, Mike (20 February 2018). "Lawyer Pleads Guilty In Latest Move In Mueller Investigation". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  31. ^ Baker, Stephanie; Krasnolutska, Daryna (10 November 2017). "Manafort Charges Renew Questions About Skadden's Work in Ukraine". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  32. ^ Vogel, Kenneth P.; Kramer, Andrew E. (21 September 2017). "Skadden, Big New York Law Firm, Faces Questions on Work With Manafort". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  33. ^ Day, Chad; Tucker, Eric (20 February 2018). "Attorney admits he lied to Mueller's federal agents". San Francisco Chronicle. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 20 February 2018. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  34. ^ a b Day, Chad; Tucker, Eric (20 February 2018). "Associate of ex-Trump adviser pleads guilty to making false statements in Russia investigation". Star Tribune. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 20 February 2018. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  35. ^ Friedman, Dan (20 February 2018). "What This Lawyer's Guilty Plea Tells Us About Mueller's Investigation". Mother Jones. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  36. ^ Greenwood, Max (28 March 2018). "Mueller team reveals Manafort business associate's connection to Russian intel service". The Hill. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  37. ^ Voreacos, David; Larson, Erik; Harris, Andrew M.; Dennis, Steven T. (20 February 2018). "Mueller Gets Plea, No Cooperation, as Skadden Lawyer Admits Lies". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  38. ^ Voreacos, David; Larson, Erik (3 April 2018). "Lawyer Who Lied to Mueller About Russian Spy Gets 30 Days". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  39. ^ "Ex-Skadden Associate Loses Law License for Lying in Mueller Probe |".
  40. ^ "Trump pardons ex-campaign aide, Blackwater contractors and disgraced lawmakers".
  41. ^ a b c "Семь главных свадеб лета 2017 по версии Tatler". Tatler (in Russian). 13 August 2017. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  42. ^ Day, Chad; Tucker, Eric (20 February 2018). "Mueller Charges Son-in-Law of Russian Oligarch for Allegedly Lying About Communications With Gates". WNBC. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  43. ^ Gerstein, Josh; Cheney, Kyle (20 February 2018). "Mueller charges latest target in Russia probe". Politico. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  44. ^ Sheth, Sonam (20 February 2018). "Mueller launches another salvo in his quest to flip Paul Manafort in the Russia investigation". Business Insider. Retrieved 22 February 2018.

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