Published: Wed, January 09, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Russian tied to Trump Tower meet indicted in separate US case

Russian tied to Trump Tower meet indicted in separate US case

Natalia Veselnitskaya was charged with obstructing justice by filing a misleading statement in a money laundering case, which was settled in 2017. The allegation in the indictment suggests she has close ties to the Russian government - something she has previously denied in the context of the special counsel's Russia investigation. 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.

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Veselnitskaya has been a media flashpoint for over a year now, ever since the revelations of her 2016 meeting with President Donald Trump's campaign officials at Trump Tower under the premise of giving them damaging information about Hillary Clinton. Yet despite the fact that little is known for sure about the Trump Tower meeting, it has been cited by Trump's critics as at least one more instance of proof of an improper relationship that existed between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

"Veselnitskaya's declaration presented supposed investigative findings by the Russian government - findings purportedly exonerating Veselnitskaya's clients - under the false pretence that these findings had been independently drafted by the Russian government", the indictment says.

After Magnitsky discovered the alleged fraud, he was arrested and held for nearly a year in pretrial detention in Moscow, where he eventually died at age 37, the USA indictment filed at the time alleges.

Prevezon Holdings was accused of participating in a tax fraud scheme that laundered $230m (£180m). This report, submitted by Russian Federation under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) with the U.S., was then cited by Veselnitskaya in defending the real estate company Prevezon Holdings Ltd. from claims of money laundering by "Investment Company-1". "Veselnitskaya is now on notice and will have to answer for her futile actions".

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

Veselnitskaya, an attorney based in Russian Federation, was retained to assist the defendants.

The case stems from legal work Veselnitskaya was doing for Prevezon Holdings.

Veselnitskaya "is now a wanted person in the United States for intentionally misleading U.S. investigators", said Homeland Security investigator Angel Melendez.

The meeting at Trump Tower in June 2016 is being looked into by special counsel Robert Mueller as he probes whether there was any collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russian Federation. A 2011 medical report from the Physicians for Human Rights found no evidence Magnitsky was beaten to death, contrary to Browder's claim. Only a few bothered to note that the indictment has to do with a totally unrelated case.

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