Russian Lawyer At Trump Tower Meeting Charged For Obstruction Of Justice

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A Russian lawyer who famously attended a meeting with top Trump campaign aides in 2016 has been charged in a separate obstruction of justice case.

According to an indictment unsealed on Tuesday, Natalia Veselnitskaya was charged with obstructing justice by filing a misleading statement in the money laundering case, which was settled in 2017.

The document "did not contain any indication that any of its content was drafted by [a] non-Russian-government person, including Natalya Veselnitskaya, the defendant, who was acting on behalf of the Prevezon action defendants", the indictment said.

The U.S. attorney's office in NY settled the case with Prevezon in 2017 and obtained $5.8 million in settlement money from the company.

You can read the indictment for yourself here.

The indictment, which is unrelated to Russian election interference and brought by the Manhattan U.S. attorney, illustrates Veselnitskaya's close ties to the Russian government, which she has denied.

FILE - A combination photo shows Donald Trump Jr. from July 11, 2017, Jared Kushner from June 6, 2017, and Paul Manafort from August 17, 2016.

Magnitsky was arrested in Russian Federation and died in custody in 2009.

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

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That case - US v. Prevezon Holdings - was the first case brought under the 2012 Magnitsky Act.

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.

Prosecutors say Veselnitskaya submitted deceptive declarations to a judge in a civil proceeding involving a Russian tax refund fraud scheme.

Russian authorities took a different course and later accused him of having participated in the fraud scheme himself.

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

Although the indictment against Veselnitskaya - suspiciously unsealed on the eve of Trump's first-ever primetime national address - has absolutely nothing to do with the July 2016 Trump Tower meeting, that has not stopped the U.S. president's critics on social media and in Congress from declaring that Trump is finished, this time, for sure, yet again.

The criminal case relates to real estate firm Prevezon Holdings Ltd and its role in an alleged US$230 million tax-fraud scheme that federal officials say was "perpetrated by a criminal organization that included in its ranks corrupt Russian officials". Additionally, Russian prosecutors helped Veselnitskaya initiate a legal complaint against the Russian government to make it appear that she had been forced to go to great lengths to obtain the document, the indictment alleges. Yet, the USA government pushed back on that characterization.

In May 2017, just a few months after Trump became president, the newly promoted NY district attorney suddenly settled with Prevezon for $6 million, days before the trial opened.

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