Russian Lawyer Veselnitskaya Charged With Obstruction of Justice in US

Minnie Murray
January 11, 2019

USA officials in that case alleged that Veselnitskaya's clients laundered portions of a $200 million Russian tax fraud scheme that involved corrupt officials in the Russian government. Veselnitskaya was charged with one count of obstruction of justice.

"That ups the stakes of the Trump Tower meeting".

In the meeting, Veselnitskaya sought to discuss USA sanctions against Russia, a policy staunchly opposed by Putin's government, and the Kremlin's response prohibiting Americans from adopting Russian children. She later concealed the fact from prosecutors and the judge in the NY case and "obstructed the civil proceeding in the Prevezon" case, prosecutors said.

A court filing Tuesday says former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort shared polling data during the 2016 presidential campaign with an associate accused of having ties to Russian intelligence and lied to federal investigators about it.

That meeting has become a central focus of the Mueller probe.

Federal prosecutors in New York's Southern District said on Tuesday that Veselnitskaya submitted to the court an "intentionally misleading declaration in opposition to a government motion".

Federal prosecutors charge that Veselnitskaya tried to obstruct a Justice Department civil fraud investigation into money laundering involving a Russian business man's investment firm.

Exiled Russian tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky first disclosed emails cited in the indictment between Veselnitskaya and Chaika in April 2018.

When the United States government asked the Russian government for help in investigating the Prevezon case, the Russian government refused and sent over a memo that sought to exonerate Prevezon.

After Magnitsky discovered the alleged fraud, he was arrested and held for nearly a year in pretrial detention in Moscow, where he eventually died at age 37, the USA indictment filed at the time alleges. Ms Veselnitskaya is accused of secretly helping the Russian government respond to the request in a letter which claimed to exonerate Russian officials and the company's staff. The response "purported to accuse" deceased Russian accountant Sergei Magnitsky of involvement in the fraud.

Now, American prosecutors allege that Veselnitskaya provided edits to that document, many of which were incorporated entirely.

[Veselnitskaya] concealed from the Court that she, as a member of the defense team ... had participated in drafting those supposed exculpatory investigative findings in secret cooperation with a senior Russian prosecutor.

The indictment, which was dated December 20, concerns a $230 million tax fraud case that has shadowed U.S.

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.

When Veselnitskaya met with Trump campaign officials in the summer of 2016, she used the meeting to discuss the Magnitsky sanctions and Bill Browder, the financier whose company was defrauded by the scheme Magnitsky uncovered, according to talking points that FP obtained in 2017.

The law eventually factored into the controversy over the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting.

Veselnitskaya claimed to have gone to great lengths to retrieve the report, including fighting in Russian court to compel the Russian Prosecutor General's Office to provide her with a copy after initially refusing to do so.

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