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Lawyer linked to Trump's US poll campaign pleads guilty of lying to FBI

The allegations are latest charges in Mr Mueller's investigation into Russia's alleged interference in 2016 election

IANS  |  Washington 

Outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller reacts to applause from the audience during his farewell ceremony at the Justice Department in Washington Photo: Reuters
File photo of Robert Mueller | Photo: Reuters

An accused of masking abuses by the former of in cooperation with the former Trump Paul Manafort, pleaded guilty on Tuesday of lying to the investigating Russian election interference.

pleaded guilty of lying to the FBI about the contacts he had with members of the electoral campaign of the US Donald Trump, about a report he prepared on former Ukrainian

Van Der Zwaan, 33, of Dutch nationality, appeared before in the for the and pleaded guilty to the only charge presented against him by Robert Mueller, reported.

The defendant admitted lying to the FBI about his contacts with Rick Gates, who was the "number two" in the Trump campaign, and who worked together with Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, on behalf of former Ukrainian Victor Yanukovych, who had ties to and was the political rival of Tymoshenko.

According to Mueller, the defendant prepared for the in 2012 under the Yanukovych government, a report on the "legitimacy" of the legal cases against Tymoshenko, who was sentenced in 2011 to seven years in prison for abuse of power and corruption, though she was released in February 2014.

The document was prepared to deal with the serious concerns of Western governments, includng the US, about Tymoshenko's trial, which she has always called a case of political persecution.

According to the court document, Van Der Zwaan "willfully and knowingly make materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements," both to the FBI and to the office of Mueller, when he was interrogated on November 3, 2017 about his contacts with Gates about the Tymoshenko report.

He is accused of one crime, lying to the FBI, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Since May 2018, as special counsel has investigated possible ties between members of the Trump presidential campaign and the Russian government, which agencies accuse of interfering with the 2016 US elections.

Up to now, Mueller has accused 13 Russians and three Russian companies of meddling in the 2016 elections.

He has also filed charges against individuals with ties to the current US president: Gates, Manafort, former security Michael Flynn, and another former adviser, George Papadopoulos, who worked for the magnate during the elections.

First Published: Wed, February 21 2018. 11:01 IST