The son-in-law of Russian oligarch German Khan has pleaded guilty to charges of lying to the FBI in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.
Alex van der Zwaan signed a plea agreement last week which did not include cooperation as a condition, and it is unclear at this time to what extent he might be working with Mueller.
Van der Zwaan was an associate of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his partner, Rick Gates.
Until he was fired last year, Van der Zwaan worked in the London office of powerhouse law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom — where he helped write a report on behalf of the Ukrainian government that critics said sought to justify the false imprisonment of Ukraine's former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko.
Manafort and Gates were also working on behalf of Tymoshenko's rivals, including ousted president Viktor Yanukovych. The New York Times reported in September that Manafort arranged for the Skadden firm to do the work — and that U.S. prosecutors were asking questions about it.
Van der Zwaan lied to federal investigators in November regarding his last communication with Gates and an unknown individual named in the indictment as "Person A", claiming the text messages were "innocuous".
But, van der Zwaan now admits, he spoke with both Gates and Person A in September 2016 regarding the Tymoshenko report. Then after Gates sent him a Ukrainian criminal complaint, he called Person A to discuss the possibility that they, along with Manafort and Skadden, could face criminal charges, apparently over payments for the report.
Van der Zwaan's father-in-law, German Khan, is mentioned in the controversial Steele dossier, along with his cofounders of Alfa Group - home to Russia's largest financial institution, Alfa Bank.