US Indicts Russian Lawyer at Heart of Trump Tower Meeting

US Indicts Russian Lawyer at Heart of Trump Tower Meeting

US Indicts Russian Lawyer at Heart of Trump Tower Meeting

The Russian lawyer whose participation in a June 2016 meeting with top officials of President Donald Trump's election campaign has given rise to allegations of collusion has been indicted in a separate money laundering case, USA prosecutors said Tuesday.

The indictment says Veselnitskaya claimed that the material she submitted to the court was an independent finding when in fact the document was an "intentionally misleading declaration" that she had secretly drafted with a senior Russian government prosecutor, who is not named in court papers.

The case concerned a Russian-controlled company known as Prevezon Holdings, which USA authorities accused of using proceeds of the tax fraud to buy real estate in Manhattan. The case was settled in 2017 with Prevezon agreeing to pay $5.9 million in fines.

"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 charges against Veselnitskaya were filed under seal December 20, 2018 and unsealed Tuesday. The response "purported to accuse" deceased Russian accountant Sergei Magnitsky of involvement in the fraud. According to Bill Browder, the owner of the companies used in the scheme, Magnitsky was killed to cover up fraud involving corrupt government officials.

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They sought to seize $14 million in Prevezon assets in the United States.

In 2012, the US Congress passed the Magnitsky Act, which aimed to punish Russian officials involved in Magnitsky's imprisonment and death and the coverup around it. He later died in jail, with Browder claiming that Magnitsky was murdered because of what he uncovered about Prevezon. Browder also described Magnitsky as his lawyer, even though Magnitsky did not hold a law license and was actually an accountant.

The case was not directly related to the Trump Tower meeting. It was revealed then that Trump's eldest son met with her the previous June after being told by an intermediary that she represented the Russian government and was offering Moscow's campaign help to defeat Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Natalya Veselnitskaya is accused of fabricating evidence while working to defend a Russian company in 2013. According to The New York Times, Khodorkovsky said the emails were deposited in his company's electronic dropbox. That work produced a dossier of unverified allegations against the president that played a key role in the early days of the FBI's investigation of Trump. American intelligence agencies and Mueller have said Russian Federation was the source of hacked material released by WikiLeaks during the campaign that was damaging to Clinton's presidential effort.

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

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