Still no collusion? Indictment of Russian lawyer whips up ‘Trump Tower’ frenzy

Still no collusion? Indictment of Russian lawyer whips up ‘Trump Tower’ frenzy

The investigation in question pertained to suspected money laundering that may have involved a Russian businessman and his investment firm. Veselnitskaya attended an appeal hearing in the Prevezon case on the same day she attended a meeting in Trump Tower.

Natalia V. Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer with close ties to the Kremlin, has been charged by federal prosecutors with attempting to hinder an investigation by the Justice Department into a civil fraud investigation, according to The New York Times.

An indictment, unsealed on Tuesday, accuses the lawyer of submitting an "intentionally misleading declaration" to the United States government in defence of the company, after it requested information from Russian Federation in relation to the case.

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.

In response, the office of Russia's prosecutor general Yury Chaika sent a lengthy statement exonerating defendants. The response "purported to accuse" deceased Russian accountant Sergei Magnitsky of involvement in the fraud.

The document she allegedly submitted in court included the findings of a supposedly independent Russian government investigation - when in fact, according to prosecutors, Veselnitskaya "concealed from the Court that she, as a member of the defense team ... had participated in drafting those supposed exculpatory investigative findings in secret cooperation with a senior Russian prosecutor".

Katzyv eventually settled the case by paying $6 million without an admission of guilt.

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Veselnitskaya is based in Moscow at the law firm Camerton Consulting.

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". Yet, the USA government pushed back on that characterization.

Veselnitskaya met with Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson shortly before and after the Trump Tower meeting.

Browder went on to push for the passage of two laws: the 2012 Magnitsky Act, which penalized the Russian officials involved in Magnitsky's case; and the 2016 Global Magnitsky Act, which imposes sanctions on foreign individuals and entities for human rights abuses.

The indictment, though unrelated to Russian election interference, is the first filed against a participant of a Trump Tower meeting at which the president's son expected to receive damaging information about Clinton.

The companies that claimed they had been defrauded by Prevezon were owned by Hermitage Capital Management, whose CEO William Browder aided the government's case. Akhmetshin, a former Russian military officer and Washington lobbyist, later accompanied Veselnitskaya to the Trump Tower meeting.

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