Russian lawyer at Trump Tower meeting charged in separate case

Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya speaks during an interview in Moscow Russia

Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr. and others at Trump Tower in Manhattan on June 9, 2016, represented Prevezon Holdings in a civil case in which the USA attorney's office in Manhattan sought millions of dollars in forfeiture from the company and others.

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 is not clear whether the lawyer will return to the USA to face the charge. In the wake of his death, the US passed a law in his name that brought sanctions against Russian oligarchs suspected of money laundering. In the lawsuits, members of a criminal organization posed as both plaintiffs and defendants in the cases, admitting wrongdoing so they could win large money judgments which could then be declared as losses in order to collect large Russian tax refunds, US authorities concluded.

Louise Shelley, the director of the Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center at George Mason University, who was due to serve as an expert witness for the prosecution in the Prevezon case, said she was unsurprised by the indictment against Veselnitskaya and said it was a prime example of how Russian officials are able to undermine the integrity of prosecutions that are potentially politically sensitive.

Magnitsky was then arrested and died in custody.

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.

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

The case concerned a Russian-controlled company known as Prevezon Holdings, which US authorities accused of using proceeds of the tax fraud to buy real estate in Manhattan.

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In Tuesday's indictment, the Justice Department said that, in the Prevezon case, Veselnitskaya had submitted ostensibly independent investigative findings that cleared Prevezon and its clients. The investigation in question pertained to suspected money laundering that may have involved a Russian businessman and his investment firm.

But according to sources associated with the case, the indictment may be used by Mueller to establish that Veselnitskaya acted in cooperation with Russian officials to advance the Kremlin's policy goals, effectively describing her as an agent of the Russian government.

Federal prosecutors in the Prevezon case filed a request with the Russian government to provide banking and other documents to bolster their case.

The actual complaint against Veselnitskaya alleges that she "well knew but concealed from the court" that she had a hand in drafting a report on the case she was litigating in the United States, "in secret cooperation with a senior Russian prosecutor" who was not named.

In a filing on January 8, Manafort's defense lawyers revealed that he shared Trump campaign polling data with a Russian-Ukrainian man whom USA intelligence suspect of being tied to Russian spy agencies.

The companies that claimed they had been defrauded by Prevezon were owned by Hermitage Capital Management, whose CEO William Browder aided the government's case.

The first email in a chain released by Donald Trump Jr. also references a Russian prosecutor.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan announced the single criminal count against the attorney, Natalia Veselnitskaya, on Tuesday.

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