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Slats Henry @SlatsHenry
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As most of us know, attorney Alex van der Zwaan, 33, a Dutch national and formally an associate in the London office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, pleaded guilty in February to one count of making a false statement in violation of 18 USC 1001 to Mueller's team. /1
He was sentenced earlier this month to 30 days in prison, to be followed by 60 days of supervised release, and also fined $20,000. Alex van der Zwaan was also fired by Skadden Arps for his conduct. /2…
Specifically, Alex van der Zwaan admitted that he lied to Mueller’s people in November, 2017 about communications he in fact had in September, 2016 with Manafort associates Rick Gates and “Person A” (almost certainly GRU-linked Konstantin Kilimnik) /3…
Alex van der Zwaan’s discussion with the two men was in regards to a report Skadden Arps had written in 2012 for the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice legitimizing the prosecution of Yanukovych enemy Yulia Tymoshenko, allegedly part of a PR whitewash organized by Manafort. /4
Furthermore, as we also know, Alex van der Zwaan’s wife, Ava, is the daughter of German Khan, a Russian oligarch and a beneficial owner of Alfa Bank, along with two other Russian oligarchs, Mikhail Fridman and Petr Aven. Fridman and Khan are citizens of both Russia and Israel. /5
Alex van der Zwaan’s marriage raises questions about his relationship with German Khan. However, his collaboration with Manafort associates Gates and “Person A” in whitewashing the Tymoshenko prosecution calls into question not only his connections to the Oligarchs ... /6
... but also those of his former employer, Skadden Arps. a large, international law firm based in New York. /7
According to the Financial Times, “Mr. van der Zwaan’s profile, since deleted from Skadden’s website, also listed work for Gennady Bogolyubov, a Ukrainian oligarch, when the businessman was sued by his fellow countryman Victor Pinchuk in 2013.” /8…
“He also acted for Mr. (Roman) Abramovich’s businesses in relation to mining assets in Ukraine, according to the profile.” /9
“Last summer, the associate’s connections to the oligarch world deepened when he married Eva Khan, a daughter of Mr. Khan, the Russian-Ukrainian billionaire whose interests Skadden has represented in the past alongside Mr. Fridman.” /10
When it comes to Alex van der Zwaan’s employer, Skadden Arps, the Financial Times article links the firm to its extensive representation of Mikhail Fridman and Roman Abramovich over the years. /11
“Mikhail Fridman, the Ukrainian-born billionaire and co-founder of Alfa Group, would rely on Skadden in his battles with the British government and with BP, the UK oil and gas group. Roman Abramovich, the Russian billionaire, trusted the firm so much that he made ... " /12
... the head of its European operations the chairman of Chelsea football club after he acquired the team in 2003.” /13
“Skadden would advise the oligarch (Abramovich) in his successful court battle with Boris Berezovsky, his one-time friend and mentor who fled Russia in 2000 after clashing with Vladimir Putin. Skadden’s fees in the Berezovsky case in 2012 were a reported £35m." /14
Berezovsky, once one of Russia’s most powerful oligarch, was found dead in a locked bathroom in his home near London in 2013, an apparent suicide by hanging. /15
Skadden Arps has 22 offices around the globe, including London and Moscow, with more than 1,700 attorneys. According to the firm’s website, “Skadden advises businesses, financial institutions and governmental entities around the world ... /16
According to Skadden’s own website, several of the firm’s partners/associates in its London, Frankfurt and Moscow offices have represented/advised companies Mikhail Fridman controls (Alfa Group, Letter One (L1), Vimplecom) as well as the AAR (Alfa-Access-Renova) consortium. /17
AAR is a consortium controlled by three other oligarchs besides Fridman (Alfa Group): Len Blavatnik (Access), Viktor Vekselburg (Renova), and German Khan (Alfa). AAR formed a major RU oil company in 2003, TNK-BP, through a joint partnership with BP. /18…
TNK-BP was ultimate acquired by Rosneft from AAR and BP for $55 billion in 2013. /19…
Skadden Arps London partners Linda Davies, Mark L. Darley, Scott V. Simpson, Ingrid Vandenborre and Mikhail Koulikov (associate, Moscow office) represented/advised AAR in the consortium’s sale of TNK-BP to Rosneft. (see…, etc.) /20
Also, Skadden Arps London partners David M. Edwards and David Kavanagh represented/advised the AAR consortium in a multi-billion dollar dispute with BP over an attempted partnership with Rosneft for oil exploration in the Arctic Circle. (see… ... etc.) /21
Edwards also represented Alfa Group’s telecom business (Altimor) against Norway’s Telenor, as well as L1 Energy in the courts on matters related to its North Sea oil and gas assets. /22
Furthermore, Dr. Matthias Horbach, a partner in Skadden Arps Frankfurt office, represented Fridman’s Letter One in its $1.6 billion acquisition of E.ON E&P Norge AS, as well as its US$725 million sale of DEA UK Holdings. /23…
Above is not intended to be an exhaustive listing, but merely examples of some of the representations publicly acknowledged on Skadden Arps website made by its partners/associates on behalf of Mikhail Fridman’s companies. /24
As the Financial Times article from February indicated, and confirmed by the firm's own website, Skadden Arps, particularly its partners/associates in London, has done a lot of business with Mikhail Fridman's companies as well as those of his Russian oligarch friends. /25
And that makes one wonder about what else that Alex van der Zwaan knows about the business secrets of his father-in-law German's Alfa Group partner, Mikhail. As well as what he might have told Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III about them. /26
One last Skadden Arps fun fact: Dorian M. Barak, the Israel based financial advisor and personal attorney to Erik Prince, was a merger & acquisitions and corporate finance attorney in the New York office of Skadden Arps. /27…
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