Mueller charges lawyer with lying about interaction with Trump campaign aide

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The lawyer had communications with Robert Gates, a Donald Trump campaign aide who was charged alongside colleague Paul Manafort by Mr Mueller's team a year ago.

Prosecutors working for Mueller charged that the lawyer, Alex Van Der Zwaan, lied to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents about his conversations with former Trump aide Rick Gates, who was indicted previous year on charges related to his work on behalf of pro-Russian factions in Ukraine.

Manafort, who served as President Donald Trump's campaign chairman, has been charged with money laundering and a variety of other crimes in the special counsel investigation, but he had been suspected of financial crimes dating back to 2014.

Van Der Swaan was charged with a criminal information, which typically precedes a guilty plea.

He lied when he said his last communication with Rick Gates was in August 2016, according to the government, when in fact in September 2016 "he spoke with both [Manafort deputy Rick] Gates and Person A" about a report and 'surreptitiously recorded the calls'.

He was speaking with investigators about his work with worldwide law firm Skadden Arps in 2012, when Manafort arranged for the firm to be hired by the Ukrainian Minister of Justice to prepare a report on the trial of Yulia Tymoshenko. He is also the son-in-law of German Khan, a Ukrainian-Russian billionaire and businessman.

Alex van der Zwaan, the lawyer, is well-connected and represents the interests of a number of Russian oligarchs.

Gates met Manafort almost three decades ago while he was an intern at Black, Manafort, Stone, Kelly - one of the most powerful lobbying firms in DC. She was freed after Yanukovych's ouster in 2014.

The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday that Gates will himself plead guilty to fraud charges and will agree to testify against his longtime partner, Manafort.

The Justice Department had asked Skadden for information and documents related to its work for the Yanukovych government, the New York Times reported in September.

The Justice Department alleged that the 13 Russian nationals and three groups broke criminal laws and meant to interfere in "U.S. elections and political processes", the Department said.