Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who had a meeting with Trump’s senior aides in 2016, had previously “secretly schemed” with a Russian official who was offering dirt on Hilary Clinton, as the U.S. authorities have alleged, The Guardian reports.
“Natalia Veselnitskaya was on Tuesday accused of fabricating evidence in a US money-laundering case she was working on when she attended a now-notorious meeting at Trump Tower in New York in June 2016,” the news agency says.
The criminal indictment says that she worked on the perjury in 2014 along with the office of Yury Chaika, Russia’s Prosecutor General. Veselnitskaya was charged with obstruction of justice.
This story goes back to 2016, when Trump’s son, Donald Jr was told that Chaika could provide some damaging information on Clinton which would help Trump’s campaign.
“Veselnitskaya’s obstruction charge relates to her work representing Prevezon Holdings, a Russian investment company. Prevezon was sued by the US government in New York for allegedly laundering part of $230m stolen by a Russian criminal network into upscale Manhattan condominiums,” The Guardian explains.
“Veselnitskaya secretly schemed with a senior Russian prosecutor to provide false information to US law enforcement in an attempt to influence the legal proceedings in the southern district of New York,” Senior FBI official in New York Angel Melendez said.
Within this case, she cited the report of an independent investigation of the Russian authorities which, according to Veselnitskaya, exonerated her clients.
“In a declaration to court signed under penalty of perjury, Veselnitskaya claimed she had “gone to great lengths” to obtain the report,” the message says.
Besides, the U.S. prosecutors stated that the Russian lawyer secretly worked with Chaika’s office on drafting and editing the report. She allegedly added 29 paragraphs into the draft report.
Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, said that Veselnitskaya’s act “undermines the integrity of the judicial process”.
“We take seriously our responsibility to protect the integrity of the judicial proceedings in this district, and we will not stand idly by while outside influences seek to corrupt and pervert that process,” he noted.
Veselnitskaya is now “a wanted person” in the U.S.
The news agency says Russia’s authorities are unlikely to cooperate with the prosecution while Veselnitskaya remains in her home country. Yet, she will no longer be able to travel to the States without risking arrest.