Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who met with top Trump campaign officials in Trump Tower, has been charged with obstruction of justice in connection with a separate civil money laundering and forfeiture case, the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of NY announced Tuesday. The charges don't relate to the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, but instead accuse her of obstructing justice in a money laundering case.
Last year, the US attorney's office settled its civil case against Prevezon for more than $5.8 million.
In fact, USA prosecutors said, the Russian lawyer participated in drafting the findings secretly together with a Russian prosecutor.
You can read the indictment for yourself here. Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and senior campaign aide Paul Manafort also took part in the June 9, 2016, meeting. But the case was not directly connected to the 2016 Trump Tower meeting, which was also attended by Donald Trump, Jr.
That scheme was uncovered by the Russian accountant Sergei Magnitsky, who later died in jail and has become a cause célèbre of Russian anti-corruption activists.
Veselnitskaya, an attorney based in Russian Federation, was retained to assist the defendants. The alleged tax fraud scheme came at the expense of an investment firm, Hermitage Capital, owned by an American investor, Bill Browder, according to a US indictment.
Goldstone initiated the meeting, billing it to Trump Jr.as one to get "dirt" on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, according to emails.
Kremlin-linked lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya speaks to a journalist in Moscow, Nov. 8, 2016.
The document she allegedly submitted in court included the findings of a supposedly independent Russian government investigation - when in fact, according to prosecutors, 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".
According to the New York Times, that investigation involved a Russian businessman and his investment firm. It is unlikely she will see a USA courtroom because the US does not have an extradition treaty with Russian Federation.
It alleges the 43-year-old "secretly" worked with a Russian prosecutor to draft the response.
The case, which centered around whether the Russian real-estate firm Prevezon laundered millions into NY real estate, drew attention at the time because of its ties to a separate $230 million Russian tax-fraud scheme that implicated several high-level Kremlin officials and prompted the passage of the 2012 Magnitsky Act.
It is not unusual for US prosecutors to reach out in good faith to their counterparts in other countries to request information when working on transnational cases.
In May 2017, just a few months after Trump became president, the newly promoted NY district attorney suddenly settled with Prevezon for $6 million, days before the trial opened.