First person sentenced in Russia probe draws 30 days, fine


Van der Zwaan, the 33-year-old son-in-law of a Russian oligarch, pleaded guilty in February to lying to investigators about his work in Ukraine with former Trump campaign officials Paul Manafort and Rick Gates.

During a 40-minute hearing Tuesday, van der Zwaan made only a brief statement, telling Jackson, "Your Honor, what I did was wrong". "I await your judgment".

The Dutch lawyer is now the first person to be sentenced as part of Mueller's investigation.

Alex van der Zwaan, 33, a son-in-law of a prominent Russian-based banker, pleaded guilty February 20 to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his contacts in September and October of 2016 with a business associate of onetime Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and with Manafort's deputy, former Trump aide Rick Gates. "This was lying to a federal officer in the course of a criminal investigation".

Manafort has challenged Mueller's authority and asked a judge to dismiss charges against him including acting as an unregistered foreign agent and conspiring to launder tens of millions of dollars he received from his Ukrainian political consulting.

After his lies were called out, van der Zwaan gave investigators recordings of his conversations with Gates, "Person A" and a senior Skadden partner.

Mr van der Zwaan's attorney, William Jay Schwartz, asked the judge to impose only a fine and allow his client to leave the country, saying he had already been punished enough and should receive credit for returning to the United States a year ago after lying to Mr Mueller's investigators to correct the record.

He also is married to the daughter of billionaire German Khan who owns the Alfa Group, Russia's largest financial and industrial investment group. "I apologize to the court, my wife, and my family".

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In extracting a guilty plea and co-operation pledge, Mueller's team has kept most of the details of what Van der Zwaan told them secret. The attorneys pushed Jackson to allow van der Zwaan to return to London as soon as possible where he lives with his wife, who is going through a hard pregnancy.

"It is unusual conduct to make a false statement, and then immediately provide proof of a false statement", Schwartz said, saying for if it were another defendant those tapes "could have found their way to the bottom of the Thames" River in London.

She also declined to offer sympathy to van der Zwann after his lawyers said he has been bored in a D.C. -area hotel for months with nothing to do but converse with attorneys.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort leaves court last October.

The indictment against him did not refer to the 2016 election campaign.

Weissmann also said van der Zwaan's conduct demonstrated a "lack of morality", noting he also lied to his former employer and the US government.

Significant developments occurred in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation in the last 24 hours.

In particular, they argued that prosecutors' knowledge of Manafort's Ukraine work did not arise directly from Mueller's probe but instead grew out of separate Justice Department inquiries dating to 2014.