Russian lawyer in Trump Tower meeting charged in Kremlin-linked obstruction case

Natalia Veselnitskay met with Donald Trump Jnr Jared Kushner and other members of the 2016 campaign team- Kommersant

Natalia Veselnitskay met with Donald Trump Jnr Jared Kushner and other members of the 2016 campaign team- KommersantMore

The Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump's campaign team at Trump Tower in 2016 has been charged with attempting to obstruct justice in a case which shows her close ties to the Kremlin. And it renews questions about the circumstances of the 2016 Trump Tower meeting, which also was attended by Donald Trump Jr. and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Veselnitskaya was charged with hiding her role in drafting a declaration that purportedly exonerated her client, Russian firm Prevezon Holdings.

According to an indictment unsealed Tuesday by the Southern District of New York, Veselnitskaya allegedly worked with a senior Russian prosecutor to draft the findings and misled the court.

Prosecutors say that Veselnitskaya sent tracked changes of the legal assistance reply to Russian prosecutors as Moscow was preparing to respond to the USA request.

You can read the indictment for yourself here.

According to the unsealed indictment, Veselnitskaya hid from US officials her role in manufacturing and producing information from the Russian government that allegedly exonerated her clients in United States v. Prevezon Holdings, 13-civ-6326.

Magnitsky was arrested in Russian Federation and died in custody in 2009.

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"Under the terms of the settlement, the defendants have agreed to pay not just what we alleged flowed to them from the Russian treasury fraud, but three times that amount, and roughly 10 times the money we alleged could be traced directly into USA accounts and real estate", then acting USA attorney Joon Kim said in a statement at the time the settlement was made. The U.S. government was seeking to recover millions of dollars' worth of property, much of it tied up in NY real estate, on the ground that it was connected to the scheme.

Goldstone initiated the meeting, billing it to Trump one to get "dirt" on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, according to emails. But that meeting did center on issues related to Veselnitskaya's work on behalf of Prevezon, which is controlled by a Russian businessman named Denis Katsyv.

The parent company of the victim firms hired attorneys to investigate after learning of the sham lawsuits, including Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, and they uncovered the fraud scheme, in which Russian government officials were complicit, prosecutors said.

In 2015, Veselnitskaya submitted investigative findings that she claimed were compiled independently by the Russian government as potentially exculpatory evidence.

Federal prosecutors in the Prevezon case filed a request with the Russian government to provide banking and other documents to bolster their case.

The US attorney in Manhattan, Geoffrey Berman, said in a statement that acts like Veselnitskaya's "undermines the integrity of the judicial process" and threatens the enforcement of justice. 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.

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

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