A Russian lawyer who attended a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower under scrutiny in the U.S. special counsel's Russia probe was charged with obstruction of justice in a money laundering case, the U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan said on Tuesday.
The filing of the charge will curtail Veselnitskaya's global travel and expose her to arrest if she comes to the US. It alleges that Veselnitskaya presented the court with exculpatory evidence that she said were findings by the Russian government.
As that case proceeded, Veselnitskaya, a member of the defense team in that matter, allegedly gave a false declaration to the federal court in NY about the Russian government's investigative findings in that case, concealing from the court that she "had participated in drafting those supposed independent investigative findings in secret cooperation with a senior Russian prosecutor".
"Emails from an account used by Veselnitskaya reveal that she sent multiple drafts of the document to the personal email account of a Russian prosecutor in the Prosecutor General's Office", the indictment states.
You can read the indictment for yourself here.
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.
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However, the parent company of multiple victims hired Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky to help in their effort.
She claimed that Trump Jr. had also requested proof that Hillary Clinton's campaign had received money which had avoided taxation, and she had admitted to lacking documentation to prove that.
According to the indictment in United States of America v. Natalia Veselnitskaya, "the United States government sought to recover several million dollars' worth of property, mainly NY real estate, on the ground that this property was involved in laundering a portion of the proceeds of a Russian tax fraud scheme".
In 2007 and 2008, Magnitsky uncovered an alleged vast corruption scheme involving about $230 million, according to a federal indictment by the U.S. Southern District of NY in 2013. "That ups the stakes of the Trump Tower meeting".
Prevezon settled the civil case in 2017 but balked at a negotiated payment. Magnitsky - the namesake for the US law - died in Russian prison after reportedly investigating tax fraud that affected a company belonging to financier William Browder.
Donald Trump Jr, the President's son, has said he agreed to the meeting after being promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton, Mr Trump's Democratic opponent. It also accused Magnitsky himself of committing the Russian Treasury Fraud, when as the feds outline he reported it. Browder launched a campaign to have those allegedly involved in his death blacklisted by the U.S.
In 2016, Congress expanded the Magnitsky Act was expanded globally to cover any officials involved in human rights abuses.