Russian lawyer involved in Trump Tower meeting charged in separate case

11 January, 2019, 12:40 | Author: Carlos George
  • Lawyer Natalya Veselnitskaya during an interview

Mr Trump's son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, and top campaign aide Paul Manafort also attended the June 9, 2016, meeting.

While Veselnitskaya's close ties to the Russian government have been well-documented, Tuesday's indictment describes her as a co-conspirator with Russian prosecutors to obstruct the USA investigation.

Barron's was unable to reach Veselnitskaya for comment on Tuesday.

The charges allege she obstructed justice in an unrelated civil case relating to money laundering and forfeiture of assets.

All this, USA officials now allege, was a ruse. The Justice Department had alleged in a civil complaint that a Russian criminal organization ran an elaborate tax refund scheme.

Veselnitskaya has denied acting on behalf of Russian officials when she met with the Trump team, telling Congress she operates "independently of any government bodies". Magnitsky ultimately ended up dead in a Russian prison - and his name is associated with the Magnitsky Act, which allows for imposition of sanctions on human rights violators in Russia.

"Natalia Veselnitskaya was an employee of Pyotr Katsyv, former Transport Minister and vice governor of Moscow Oblast", Olga Lautman, an investigative reporter who spent years researching the Russian mafia, told Newsweek.

In 2013, USA prosecutors brought a civil lawsuit against the company that sought to recover millions of dollars' worth of NY real estate and other property on the grounds that it was tainted by money laundering.

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In the case, prominent Russian businessman Denis P. Katsyv and his real estate firm, Prevezon Holdings, is accused of laundering proceeds from a large-scale tax fraud in Russia through purchasing a NY property.

Major media outlets - not just in the U.S. - therefore made sure to include a "Trump Tower" reference in reporting on Veselnitskaya's indictment, which was filed on December 20 in the Southern District of NY and made public on Tuesday.

According to the indictment, Veselnitskaya sought to deny the US government's partial summary judgment motion in 2015 by providing the court with a copy of a report produced by the Russian government that purported to exonerate all Russian government personnel involved in the alleged scheme.

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

When the USA government asked the Russian government for help in investigating the Prevezon case, the Russian government refused and sent over a memo that sought to exonerate Prevezon.

Instead, the grand jury charges Veselnitskaya with obstructing justice for cooperating with a senior Russian government official in drafting a response to US prosecutors in a separate case.

Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, pictured in Moscow in 2016, has been charged in connection to a money laundering case. Ms Veselnitskaya is accused of secretly helping the Russian government respond to the request in a letter which claimed to exonerate Russian officials and the company's staff.

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