Russian lawyer in Trump Tower meeting has ties to Kremlin

Veselnitskaya speaks to a journalist in Moscow Nov. 8 2016

According to the indictment, Veselnitskaya submitted an "intentionally misleading" declaration to the Department of Justice in a civil case involving her client, Prevezon Holdings. Attendees at the meeting later said that she had talked about adoptions, which Russian Federation restricted for Americans as retribution for the Magnitsky Act, and requested that sanctions be lifted.

A digest of the top political stories from the Globe, sent to your inbox Monday-Friday. But the case was not directly connected to the 2016 Trump Tower meeting, which was also attended by Donald Trump, Jr.

Instead, the grand jury charges Veselnitskaya with obstructing justice for cooperating with a senior Russian government official in drafting a response to US prosecutors in a separate case.

James Margolin, a spokesman for the Manhattan U.S. attorney's office, said Veselnitskaya's criminal case did not originate from a referral by Mueller, noting the allegations relate only to her work for the Russian company and "are unrelated to any other investigation". Magnitsky - the namesake for the USA law - died in Russian prison after reportedly investigating tax fraud that affected a company belonging to financier William Browder.

"Now we know that she was working directly with corrupt, Russian officials", former prosecutor Honig said.

Veselnitskaya represented Prevezon Holdings Ltd, a Russian-controlled real estate company, which in 2017 agreed to pay almost $6 million USA to settle a U.S. government lawsuit accusing it of laundering proceeds of a $230 million tax fraud.

Prevezon settled the civil case in 2017 but balked at a negotiated payment.

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It raises questions about who Ms Veselnitskaya was representing when she attended the meeting.

TPM called a number listed for Veselnitskaya at a Russian law firm. Browder launched a campaign to have those allegedly involved in his death blacklisted by the U.S.

Veselnitskaya, a 43-year-old attorney based in Russian Federation, did not respond to a telephone call and text message from The Associated Press.

The indictment goes on to allege that Prevezon repeated Veselnitskaya's claims in their own court filings in the case.

Mr Trump has denied having prior knowledge of the meeting. In April 2018, however - just over a year after the Prevezon case was settled and closed - United States government propaganda outlet RFE/RL reported the existence of the emails, sourcing them to Dossier, an outfit run by Browder's fellow ex-oligarch and Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

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

In 2016, Congress expanded the Magnitsky Act was expanded globally to cover any officials involved in human rights abuses. A third-party had indicated Veselnitskaya had dirt on Hillary Clinton. Only a few bothered to note that the indictment has to do with a totally unrelated case.

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