The Russian attorney who came to America to defend a massive money laundering case just got charged with obstructing that very case by working directly for the Kremlin.
A federal judge revealed today that the now-infamous Nataliya Veselnitskaya was indicted (embedded below) by the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York under seal last month for obstruction of justice in the Prevezon case, a massive international money laundering scam prosecuted by former SDNY Attorney Prett Brahara.
Former federal prosecutor Mimi Rocah tells the Washington Press that that evidence used in the criminal indictment against Natalya Veselnitskaya could have substantial repercussions in Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation of the Trump Campaign.
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Veselnitskya is now a household name in the United States for her role in the June 9th, 2016 Trump Tower meeting where Donald Trump Jr. was hoping to receive dirt on the Clintons.
While Veselnitskaya has previously denied all connections to the Russian government, the indictment tells a very different story. The Times reports:
The case was not directly related to the Trump Tower meeting. But a federal indictment returned in Manhattan seemed to confirm that Ms. Veselnitskaya had deep ties to senior Russian government officials.
The indictment says Ms. Veselnitskaya had secretly cooperated with a senior Russian prosecutor in drafting the Russian response, which was filed in federal court in Manhattan. “In doing so, Veselnitskaya obstructed the civil proceeding,” the indictment charged.
Natalia Veselnitskaya is a self-described informant with the Russian Prosecutor-General, who entered America in 2016 using a non-visa hardship exemption to defend the company Prevezon Holdings, a company that did business with current White House advisor Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law.
“It’s fair to say that the evidence which SDNY has put out there now is also available to Special Counsel Robert Mueller,” said Mimi Rocah, the former SDNY organized crime prosecutor and Pace University law professor. She told us by phone:
“It’s something that we all ‘knew’ in the sense that there was good reporting on it, but having evidence that can be used in court is important.”
“What we learn from reporting is not the same as what a prosecutor can prove in court, which has got to be Robert Mueller’s standard.”
SDNY prosecutors allege that the Russian attorney acted as an agent of the Kremlin to fashion a government coverup in the Prevezon case, interfering with prosecutors’ request to Russia for mutual legal assistance under an international treaty.
Their press release outlines the lengthy history of the case against Prevezon Holdings from the discovery of a multimillion-dollar money laundering scam by accountant Sergei Magnistky, his murder by the Russian government, and the chain of events that ultimately led Congress to pass the Magnitsky Act and the sanctions that accompanied it.
The U.S. government and Prevezon ultimately settled on a $5.9 million fine a few months after President Trump fired prosecuting attorney Bharara and his successor subsequently bailing on the trial.
America and Russia have a mutual legal assistance treaty, but not an extradition treaty, so there’s little chance of compelling Veselnitskaya to face the charges.
“Prosecutors understand that the chances of getting her here are slim, but if they didn’t charge it, then this person who came here and litigated in our court system and lied would get away with it. If they don’t charge her, she could come back and do it again,” said Mimi Rocah on her way to explaining these charges in more detail on MSNBC, continuing:
“She blatantly lied here in an affidavit in a way that is apparently provable. Prosecutors take that kind of thing very seriously.“
The indictment will also sharply limit the places where Veselnitskaya can travel outside of Russia without facing arrest and extradition.
Now, it appears that Mueller’s team has the evidence that it needs to charge Trump Jr. with campaign finance crimes because of his solicitation of Natalya Veselnitskaya’s help and the Kremlin’s help at Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Here is a copy of the SDNY’s indictment against Natalia Veselnitskaya: