Natalya Veselnitskaya, the Russian attorney who attended a controversial meeting at Trump Tower with President Donald Trump’s son, son-in-law and campaign chief in 2016, has been criminally charged with obstruction of justice in connection with a civil money laundering and forfeiture case.
Veselnitskaya is accused in an indictment unsealed Tuesday in federal court in New York City of filing a “intentionally misleading” document related to the money laundering case. The Russian national is not in custody, and is now a “wanted person,” an FBI official said.
The indictment is not related to her meeting at Trump Tower, at which people close to Trump expected to receive damaging information about his election foe, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
But that meeting remains a subject of investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is probing Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion by the Trump campaign.
In the civil case that led to her indictment, Veselnitskaya was representing defendants accused of an “elaborate” $230 million tax refund fraud scheme involving “corrupt Russian government officials,” according to federal authorities.
She allegedly submitted a declaration in that case, known as U.S. vs. Prevezon Holdings, that purported to have been independently drafted by the Russian government,” and which supposedly exonerated her clients, prosecutors said.
But Veselnitskaya hid from the judge in the case that she had “participated in drafting those supposed exculpatory findings in secret cooperation with a senior Russian prosecutor,” prosecutors said.
,Veselnitskaya a court hearing for an appeal of the money laundering case on the same day, June 9, 2016, that she went to Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York for the sitdown with people close to Trump.
Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., has said that he took the meeting with Veselnitskaya after being told that she was willing to share dirt on Clinton.. At that meeting was the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and the then-chairman of Trump’s campaign, Paul Manafort.
Trump Jr. has said that Veselnitskaya “woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Ms. Clinton.””
“”Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information,” Trump Jr. has said.
“She then changed subjects and began discussing the adoption of Russian children and mentioned the Magnitsky Act. It became clear to me that this was the true agenda all along and that the claims of potentially helpful information were a pretext for the meeting.”
source : CNBC