Russian lawyer in Trump Tower meeting has ties to Kremlin

Russian lawyer in Trump Tower meeting has ties to Kremlin

Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer at the center of a firestorm over a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower who also worked with the Democrat-connected opposition research firm Fusion GPS, was indicted on obstruction of justice charges in NY on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Ms Veselnitskaya was accused in a court filing of secretly working with Russian government figures over a statement which misled the United States courts in a money laundering case.

While it is unclear what Veselnitskaya said to Trump's son Donald Trump Jr., son-in-law Jared Kushner and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort during the 2016 Trump Tower meeting, a report from 2017 suggests that at least one of the subjects broached was the Magnitsky law that imposes harsh sanctions against Russian Federation for its human rights violations.

Trump Jr. and Kushner have acknowledged attending the meeting but have said it amounted to nothing.

Natalia Veselnitskaya, 43, was among a group of Russians who met with top Trump campaign figures in June 2016 after an intermediary suggested they had incriminating information on Hillary Clinton.

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Natalya Veselnitskaya was accused in an indictment of submitting deceptive declarations to a judge in a civil proceeding involving a Russian tax refund fraud scheme.

The court case originated in September 2013, when US prosecutors sued to recover millions of dollars worth of NY real estate and other property on the grounds that it was tainted by a money laundering scheme. The money allegedly came from an elaborate scheme in which the Russian criminal organization stole the identities of companies and filed fake lawsuits to obtain refunds for losses that they never incurred.

He has also scrutinised Mr Trump's involvement in drafting a misleading public statement about the meeting's content. It alleges that Veselnitskaya presented the court with exculpatory evidence that she said were findings by the Russian government.

As part of her work for Prevezon, Veselnitskaya mounted an aggressive campaign against Bill Browder, a London-based businessman who is the leading force behind the Magnitsky Act.

The indictment accuses Veselnitskaya of secretly collaborating on the drafting of a legal assistance response US prosecutors sought from the Russian government as part of the Prevezon case. The case was settled in 2017, with Prevezon paying a $5.9 million fine without admitting any wrongdoing. In the meeting, Veselnitskaya lobbied against the Magnitsky Act, a 2012 law that placed sanctions against Russian human rights abusers. Browder's late lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, was arrested in 2009 while investigating Prevezon's alleged money laundering scheme. In a written questionnaire submitted to a Senate committee in 2017, she claimed that Trump Jr. asked her for evidence of illegal conduct by the Clinton Foundation, but Veselnitskaya said in the questionnaire that she had no such evidence.

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