Gregory Craig, who worked as the White House counsel under former President Barack Obama, expects to be indicted by federal prosecutors in connection to lobbying work he did for the Ukrainian government in 2012, his lawyers told The Washington Post.
Craig worked with Paul Manafort, the former chairman of President Donald Trump’s campaign, on the lobbying work on behalf of the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice in 2012. At the time, The Post reported, Craig was a partner at Sadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.
According to his lawyers, Craig expects to be indicted by the US attorney’s office in Washington, DC, at the request of the Justice Department’s national security division. The case stemmed from the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 US election.
Craig resigned from Skadden last April, and his lawyers say he is innocent of any wrongdoing.
The law firm catapulted to the spotlight in the Russia probe when the Dutch lawyer Alex van der Zwaan pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI related to his work for the firm and Manafort.
Manafort asked Skadden in 2012 to compile a report about the 2011 trial of the former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko — an effort Van der Zwaan was involved in. Manafort’s request was made at the behest of Viktor Yanukovych, then the Ukrainian president and Tymoshenko’s rival in the country’s 2010 election.
Tymoshenko was jailed in 2011 after the Ukrainian government convicted her of abuse of power. Her trial and subsequent conviction were criticized by human-rights groups and deemed politically motivated by the US, the UK, German, Italy, Spain, and other European countries.
Skadden was roped into the controversy over the Tymoshenko report when it emerged that the former Ukrainian Justice Minister Oleksandr Lavrynovych embezzled over $1 million to pay the law firm for its work.
Skadden has done a significant amount of consulting for Russian oligarchs in Moscow and abroad. It has also represented Alfa Bank in a number of financial disputes stretching back years.
After facing mounting pressure from American and Ukrainian prosecutors, Skadden refunded about half the amount it was paid for the Tymoshenko report to the Ukrainian government in June 2017. Three months later, Mueller’s office raised more questions to Skadden about its work for Yanukovych in 2012.
Manafort eventually admitted Skadden’s report was used to bolster Yanukovych’s influence in the West. He was sentenced earlier this year to 7 1/2 years in federal prison for his financial crimes related to his foreign lobbying work.
So far, several Trump associates have been indicted or have pleaded guilty as part of the Russia investigation or in cases stemming from the inquiry. If Craig is charged, he will be the first prominent Democrat to join that group.