Russian lawyer in Trump Tower meeting charged with obstruction of justice

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Natalia Veselnitskaya is making headlines again - as New York Federal prosecutors are charging her with obstruction of justice in a case that highlights her ties with the Kremlin.

Veselnitskaya met with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and other top Trump campaign officials in the now-infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting.

The indictment notes that Veselnitskaya "was a Russian national and attorney" who advised "the defendants and claimants" in the case United States v. Prevezon Holdings.

Natalya Veselnitskaya was indicted on one count of obstruction of justice after prosecutors said she teamed up with a senior Russian prosecutor and submitted deceptive declarations in a civil proceeding involving a Russian tax refund fraud scheme.

Last year, the USA attorney's office settled its civil case against Prevezon for more than $5.8 million.

Yet the allegations by prosecutors in Manhattan claim strong connections between Veselnitskaya and Russian government officials.

You can read the indictment for yourself here.

Veselnitskaya represented Prevezon Holdings, Ltd., in a case related to fraud uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky, the lawyer whose death in Russian custody spawned the human-rights sanctions Veselnitskaya lobbied against in the Trump Tower meeting.

Magnitsky was arrested while investigating the fraud case and died in a Russian prison in 2009.

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It was not immediately clear whether Veselnitskaya has retained a defense attorney.

Dershowitz, a Harvard Law professor emeritus, explained that it's rare for a U.S. Attorney's Office to bring an indictment based on a misleading affidavit submitted in a civil case.

"If it's what you say I love it especially later in the summer", Trump Jr. replied, according to copies of the conversation he released publicly.

The case relates by the USA government's efforts to recover millions worth of property and NY real estate from Prevezon that was involved in laundering a tax fraud scheme, prosecutors say.

The response the US received from Russia claimed to be the findings "from a Russian government investigation", according to the indictment, and it "purported to exonerate all Russian government personnel" of the fraud from which the alleged Prevezon money laundering stemmed. 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.

Russian prosecutors accuse Magnitsky of participating in the largest tax fraud in Russian history worth $200 million.

In May 2017, on the eve of the trial, USA officials and Prevezon's lawyers agreed to settle the case, with Prevezon paying almost $6 million but admitting no wrongdoing.

Exiled Russian tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky first disclosed emails cited in the indictment between Veselnitskaya and Chaika in April 2018.

It is not unusual for USA prosecutors to reach out in good faith to their counterparts in other countries to request information when working on transnational cases.

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