Russian lawyer, one-time French HIll contact, charged in money laundering case

Adjust Comment Print

The Russian lawyer who attended the Trump Tower meeting that is a focus of the special counsel's investigation into possible collusion was charged with obstructing an unrelated tax-fraud case, federal prosecutors in NY said Tuesday.

Interested in? Add as an interest to stay up to date on the latest news, video, and analysis from ABC News.

According to prosecutors, the Justice Department asked the Russian government to assist its investigation, which it refused to do.

The indictment says Ms. Veselnitskaya had secretly cooperated with a senior Russian prosecutor in drafting the Russian response, which was filed in federal court in Manhattan.

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.

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

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

Veselnitskaya attended a 2016 meeting with Donald Trump Jr. and Trump son-in-law, Jared Kushner, that was described to Trump Jr.as part of a Russian government effort to help his father's campaign. French Hill of Little Rockgot information from her during a 2016 trip to Russia with the Russians' favorite congressman, since defeated, Dana Rohrbacher.

Trump Jr and Kushner have dismissed the meeting as amounting to nothing and mostly involving Russia's ban on American adoptions in response to United States sanctions. According to Bill Browder, the owner of the companies used in the scheme, Magnitsky was killed to cover up fraud involving corrupt government officials.

All have since said that Veselnitskaya had nothing on Clinton for them and sought to discuss other matters.

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. It has become a major issue for the Russian government, which is critical of the law. The investigation in question pertained to suspected money laundering that may have involved a Russian businessman and his investment firm. She told CNN by phone Tuesday that she would "defend her professional honor", but declined to say if she would come to the U.S.to stand trial. 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. A Russian government spokesperson said at the time that he died of heart failure, but a Russian human rights council found that his detention was unlawful and that he was beaten by guards with rubber batons on the last day of his life and then denied medical care, the indictment says. Instead, according to the government, Veselnitskaya helped draft the report "in secret coordination" with a senior Russian prosecutor.

Comments