Gates Communicated With Ex-Russian Intel Officer In 2016, Prosecutors Say

on February 23, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America

A new filing from special counsel Robert Mueller’s team released Tuesday night alleges that Rick Gates communicated with a former Russian intelligence officer while he was working for the Trump campaign in the 2016 election.

The revelation came in a sentencing memorandum for Alex van der Zwann, who pleaded guilty to lying to investigators in February and has been cooperating with Mueller’s team. As a lawyer at the firm Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLC, van der Zwaan worked on a report for Gates and Paul Manafort on the Ukrainian government’s prosecution of Yulia Tymoshenko, a political adversary of Gates and Manafort’s client.

In documents previously released when van der Zwaan pleaded guilty, prosecutors said that van der Zwaan worked with a “Person A” on the report and that van der Zwaan was in communication with Gates and “Person A” in the fall of 2016.

In the Tuesday night filing, prosecutors said that “Person A” has “ties to the Russian intelligence service” and had those ties in 2016. Van der Zwaan told the special counsel’s office that Gates told him that “Person A” was a former Russian intelligence officer, according to the filing.

As van der Zwaan’s February guilty plea revealed, Gates called van der Zwaan in September 2016 and asked him to contact “Person A” — Gates was concerned about possibly facing criminal charges in Ukraine. Gates also sent van der Zwaan a preliminary criminal complaint in Ukraine, according to prosecutors. Van der Zwaan then called Person A, made a separate call to a senior partner at the law firm, and then followed up with Gates again, according to the guilty plea filings.

Person A is likely Konstantin Kilimnik, Manafort’s longtime Russian business partner in Ukraine, according to the Washington Post. Manafort communicated with Kilimnik in 2016 and worked with Kilimnik to ghost write an op-ed favorable to Manafort in December 2017.

Gates pleaded guilty to conspiracy and making a false statement in February and is cooperating with Mueller’s probe. The special counsel dropped all other charges against Gates when they reached a plea deal. Manafort has maintained his not guilty plea to two federal indictments against him stemming from his work in Ukraine.

Read Tuesday’s filing:

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