Natalia Veselnitskaya, Russian lawyer at notorious Trump Tower meeting is charged with obstruction of justice in separate case
She’s also accused of being secretly in league with top Putin prosecutor
Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York filed the separate charges which do not relate to the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting
Relates to a money laundering case and her representation of Prevezon Holdings – a major Russian money-laundering case that was unexpectedly settled in New York in May of 2017
She represented the Russian real estate conglomerate in a case brought by former Manhattan U.S. attorney Preet Bharara in 2015
Bharara was fired days before the $230million money laundering case against Prevzon was settled for a mere $6million while the prosecutor’s office was left to pickup the huge welfare tabs for the Russian witnesses and legal team
Prosecutors allege she concealed her secret cooperation with a Russian prosecutor in the case
Language in the indictment it is believed, further cements Veselnitskaya’s ties to the Russian government
Veselnitskaya allegedly was working to overturn anti-corruption laws around the world with the aid of late Russian Deputy prosecutor-general Saak Karapetyan, a long term ally of President Vladimir Putin
Veselnitskaya met with Trump surrogates Donald Trump Jr, Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner in Trump Tower during 2016 campaign
She later claimed they discussed prospect of overturning Magnitsky Act; Don Jr said they talked about Russian adoption policy
Karapetyan was killed when his helicopter crashed in Kostroma, northeast of Moscow, killing all aboard on Oct 4, just hours before Dutch security unveiled the identities of four GRU spies
Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya attended a Trump Tower meeting in 2016 with Donald Trump Jr. and other top Trump officials. She is accused of covering up her cooperation with Russian prosecutors in an unrelated case
The case relates by the U.S. government’s efforts to recover millions worth of property and New York real estate from Prevezon that was involved in laundering a tax fraud scheme, prosecutors say.
The perpetrators plowed some of the monies from the tax fraud scheme into New York real estate – funds the U.S. government sought to recover.
In the scheme ‘corrupt Russian government officials defrauded Russian taxpayers out of approximately 5.4 billion rubles, or over $200 million,’ according to the indictment.
The case does not relate to the infamous Trump Tower meeting.
Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort [left], who is now in prison awaiting sentencing on corruption charges, Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner [center], and Donald Trump Jr. have all admitted to attending the contentious 2016 Trump Tower meeting with the Russian delegation
The Magnitsky act continues to be a major irritant to the Russian government, and the lifting of sanctions appears to have been one of her primary objectives during the Trump Tower meeting, which was initially arranged after the dangling of potential dirt on Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Related: How Come? Natalia Veselnitskaya, Russian Lawyer who met Don Trump Jr. enjoyed, US tax payer-funded meals, hotel accommodations during 2015 case
The U.S. attorney’s office settled the case against Prevezon last year for $5.8 million, a small fraction of the monies originally alleged to have been involved.
The indictment references an earlier complaint about the scheme itself, which involved claiming tax refunds based on the stolen identities of three companies held by a foreign investment fund. The stolen refunds were claimed by arranging ‘false contractual defaults against the stolen companies,’ and then claiming refunds based on the defaults that didn’t happen.
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But based on emails and even software that tracks editing changes, prosecutors in New York say she participated in drafting the response, and emailed the personal account of a supervising Russian prosecutor.
The Russian prosecutor then helped Veselnitskaya create the ‘false impression’ that she hadn’t assisted – even helping her file a complaint against the Prosecutor General’s Office seeking access to the documents she helped create.
Russia’s Deputy prosecutor-general Saak Karapetyan [left], died in a helicopter crash on Oct 4, 2018. He was closely tied to lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya [right], of the Trump Tower meeting fame – leading to widespread speculation of a coverup
The first email in a chain released by Donald Trump Jr. also references a Russian prosecutor.
The email, from British music publicist Rob Goldstone to Trump Jr. referenced Trump-connected pop singer Emin and stated: ‘Emin just called and asked me to contact you with something very interesting.’
‘The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father,’ according to the email.
The charges against Veselnitskaya were filed under seal December 20, 2018 and unsealed Tuesday.
House Judiciary Committee Democrats at the time demanded former Attorney General Jeff Sessions [photo] clarify whether Veselnitskaya had a hand in settlement talks between Prevezon Holdings Ltd. and the Dept of Justice
Significantly, the government’s case against Prevzon Holdings Ltd. was expeditiously settled by the Trump administration, ‘on terms incredibly favorable to the defendant’, and only after Preet Bharara, the former chief protagonist on the government side was inexplicably fired by the incoming administration.
The feds settled with Prevezon for just $6 million in May, 2017, only two days before the trial for alleged money laundering in a $230 million tax fraud.
House Democrats are up in arms demanding why the Trump Justice Department agreed to suddenly settle the major case for so little money.
House Judiciary ranking member John Conyers and other Democrats wrote a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking if Veselnitskaya participated in Prevezon settlement talks.