Russian lawyer Veselnitskaya charged with obstruction of justice

Russian lawyer Veselnitskaya charged with obstruction of justice

Russian lawyer Veselnitskaya charged with obstruction of justice

Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who attended the infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting with then-candidate Donald Trump's inner circle, was charged last month with obstruction of justice, according to an indictment unsealed Tuesday.

The charges against Veselnitskaya are not related to the Trump Tower meeting, which was hosted on June 9, 2016, by Donald Trump Jr.

The document "did not contain any indication that any of its content was drafted by [a] non-Russian-government person, including Natalya Veselnitskaya, the defendant, who was acting on behalf of the Prevezon action defendants", the indictment said.

According to the indictment, (via The New York Times) Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman accuses Veselnitskaya of attempting to interfere with the money laundering investigation of a prominent Russian businessman and his investment firm.

The indictment is unrelated to Russian election interference, but it illustrates Veselnitskaya's close ties to the Russian government.

Trump's son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, and top campaign aide Paul Manafort also attended.

Natalia Veselnitskaya became a central figure in the Mueller probe when it was revealed that in June 2016, she met with Donald Trump Jr., after an intermediary indicated she had dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Magnitsky was arrested in Russian Federation and died in custody.

Veselnitskaya, a 43-year-old attorney based in Russian Federation, did not respond to a telephone call and text message from The Associated Press. In the wake of his death, the USA passed a law in his name that brought sanctions against Russian oligarchs suspected of money laundering.

Although the filing does not say whether the polling information was public or what was done with it, it raises the possibility that Russian Federation might have used inside information from the Trump campaign as part of its effort to interfere with the election on Trump's behalf.

The son of a former Moscow regional transport minister, he was sole owner of Prevezon Holdings, which was named in the USA indictment alleging that some proceeds from the tax fraud scheme were laundered through the purchase of New York City real estate.

Veselnitskaya, who is believed to be in Russian Federation, could not be immediately reached for comment.

Ms Veselnitskaya "participated in drafting those supposed exculpatory investigative findings in secret cooperation with a senior Russian prosecutor", the US Attorney's office in Manhattan said in a statement. In the case, the government sought to prove that Veselnitskaya's clients had received and laundered a portion of the proceeds of a Russian tax refund fraud scheme involving corrupt Russian officials. Additionally, Russian prosecutors helped Veselnitskaya initiate a legal complaint against the Russian government to make it appear that she had been forced to go to great lengths to obtain the document, the indictment alleges.

Prevezon settled the civil case in 2017 but balked at a negotiated payment.

None of this information was provided to the US court at the time.

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