A Russian lawyer who became a focal point of the investigation into whether there was collusion between Russians and President Donald Trump's election campaign has been charged with obstruction of justice in an unrelated case.
In June 2016, Veselnitskaya met with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Manafort at Trump Tower in New York City to discuss what had been billed as information that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton in the closing months of the USA presidential election season.
Veselnitskaya, 43, is believed to be in Russian Federation, according to the US attorney for the Southern District of NY, which moved to unseal the indictment on Tuesday.
You can read the indictment for yourself here. The allegation in the indictment suggests she has close ties to the Russian government - something she has previously denied in the context of the special counsel's Russia investigation.
Veselnitskaya attended a 2016 meeting with Donald Trump Jr. and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner that was described to Trump Jr.as part of a Russian government effort to help his father's campaign. Magnitsky ultimately ended up dead in a Russian prison - and his name is associated with the Magnitsky Act, which allows for imposition of sanctions on human rights violators in Russia.
Veselnitskaya, an attorney based in Russian Federation, was retained to assist the defendants.
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However, U.S. authorities have been investigating whether Manafort's prior work - mainly for pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians and business interests - may have helped influence Trump's policy positions on Russia.
Although the filing does not say whether the polling information was public or what was done with it, it raises the possibility that Russian Federation might have used inside information from the Trump campaign as part of its effort to interfere with the election on Trump's behalf.
In 2014, US authorities were investigating whether Prevezon Holdings, a Cyprus-based real estate corporation, orchestrated a tax scheme in Russian Federation by stealing the identities of companies and filing sham lawsuits to incur fake losses to generate tax refunds. In the case, the government sought to prove that Veselnitskaya's clients had received and laundered a portion of the proceeds of a Russian tax refund fraud scheme involving corrupt Russian officials.
The indictment says Veselnitskaya claimed that the material she submitted to the court was an independent finding when in fact the document was an "intentionally misleading declaration" that she had secretly drafted with a senior Russian government prosecutor, who is not named in court papers.
She cooperated with a senior Russian prosecutor 'in secret'. Akhmetshin, a former Russian military officer and Washington lobbyist, later accompanied Veselnitskaya to the Trump Tower meeting.
It is not unusual for USA prosecutors to reach out in good faith to their counterparts in other countries to request information when working on transnational cases. In April 2018, however - just over a year after the Prevezon case was settled and closed - United States government propaganda outlet RFE/RL reported the existence of the emails, sourcing them to Dossier, an outfit run by Browder's fellow ex-oligarch and Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky.