Published: Wed, January 09, 2019
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Russian Lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya Charged In Money Laundering Case

Russian Lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya Charged In Money Laundering Case

A Russian lawyer who became a focal point of the investigation into whether there was collusion between Russians and President Donald Trump's election campaign was charged with obstruction of justice Tuesday in an unrelated case in NY.

The 19-page indictment against Veselnitskaya alleges that while representing Prevezon, she submitted "false and deceptive declarations" to a federal judge in New York City.

Veselnitskaya attended a 2016 meeting with Donald Trump Jr. and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner that was described to Trump part of a Russian government effort to help his father's campaign.

Trump Jr. and Kushner have acknowledged attending the meeting but have said it amounted to nothing.

Natalia V. Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who in 2016 met with Trump campaign officials in Trump Tower, was charged on Tuesday in a separate case that showed her close ties to the Kremlin. Prosecutors claimed that Prevezon helped a Russian criminal organization launder money through high-end real estate, including in NY. Whiel she stated that investigative findings that were presented to the court were "independently drafted, ' in fact Veselnitskaya 'well knew but concealed from the Court" that she helped to draft them.

That document, filed in 2014, included investigatory findings that 'exonderate all Russian government personnel, and accused investment company personnel of committing fraud.

The U.S. and Russian Federation do not share an extradition treaty.

James Margolin, a spokesman for the Manhattan U.S. attorney's office, said Veselnitskaya's criminal case did not originate from a referral by Mueller, noting the allegations relate only to her work for the Russian company and "are unrelated to any other investigation".

During the court battle, Ms Veselnitskaya cited a response the Russian government had given to the United States government's request for legal assistance in the case which pointed the finger of blame at others.

"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.

Veselnitskaya, a 43-year-old attorney based in Russian Federation, did not respond to a telephone call and text message from The Associated Press. Browder's late lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, was arrested in 2009 while investigating Prevezon's alleged money laundering scheme. The case was settled in 2017, with Prevezon paying a $5.9 million fine without admitting any wrongdoing. 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. In the meeting, Veselnitskaya lobbied against the Magnitsky Act, a 2012 law that placed sanctions against Russian human rights abusers. A third-party had indicated Veselnitskaya had dirt on Hillary Clinton.

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