By Aaron Miller-
A British solicitor jailed in the U.S for felony after pleaded guilty to charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller has been struck off the roll and ordered to pay £3,098 in costs.
Alex Rolf van der Zwaan had worked on the controversial report written by the firm justifying the prosecution of former Russian-aligned Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s political rivals. He was indicted for lying to investigators in the Russia probe about his communications with former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates. The shamed solicitor served 30 days in jail and was fined $20,000.
Alex Rolf van der Zwaan, who began practising in 2009, was jailed for knowingly and intentionally providing false information to the United States Special Counsel’s Office. The associate at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom (Skadden in the Uk, was appointed by his firm which was commissioned by the Ministry of Justice in Ukraine to write a report on the trial of Ukraine’s former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko. Convicted Van der Zwaan liaised with a partner at the firm in completing the project in 2012.
Van der Zwaan had been an associate at Skadden for 10 years before his highly acclaimed legal career came tumbling down in the wake of the Mueller probe . He was eventually fired from the Biglaw giant in 2017. After a regime change in Ukraine, the respondent was warned that the country had started a criminal investigation into Skadden and that individual lawyers could be targeted.
In a breach to professional standards, Alex Rolf van der Zwaan hid correspondence in order to protect his job According to the statement of agreed facts, admissions and outcome between the respondent and the SRA, Van der Zwaan recorded various telephone calls after hearing this news, including one call with the partner he had worked with on the report. His criminal indictments began in 2017 when the U.S government began an investigation into the activities of Russia in connection the 2016 presidential election. Van der Zwaan was interviewed in connection with this and he was represented by a lawyer from his own firm.
Van der Zwaan failed to produce all the documents he was asked for, however, such as emails he had sent. He also did not mention the telephone calls he had recorded.
According to the judgement, this is because the correspondence revealed that the criminal solicitor was considering leaving the firm to work for one of the men who had warned him about the Ukrainian criminal investigation.
Not long after the interview which lasted for several hours in the presence of FBI officers armed with guns in Washington D.C. Van der Zwaan confessed to his firm about the information he had withheld. He also surrendered his phone and laptop for the purposes of the investigation. Examination of his phone and laptop led to his prosecution by the U.S for the incorrect answers he had given in the interview. He pleaded guilty and was imprisoned for 30 days and fined $20,000..