Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who was at a 2016 Trump Tower meeting convened on the promise of offering incriminating information on Hillary Clinton, was charged in the Southern District of New York today with obstruction of justice related to a money laundering case.
Veselnitskaya represented Prevezon Holdings, Ltd., in a case related to fraud uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky, the lawyer whose death in Russian custody spawned the human-rights sanctions Veselnitskaya lobbied against in the Trump Tower meeting.
Veselnitskaya submitted “an intentionally misleading declaration in opposition to a government motion” in the Prevezon case, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said, claiming that exculpatory findings were independently drafted when she actually wrote them in tandem with a senior Russian prosecutor.
“Fabricating evidence – submitting false and deceptive declarations to a federal judge – in an attempt to affect the outcome of pending litigation not only undermines the integrity of the judicial process, but it threatens the ability of our courts and our government to ensure that justice is done,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said. “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.”
Veselnitskaya is currently not in the United States. Angel M. Melendez, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, said she’s “now a wanted person in the United States.”
“The determined efforts of HSI New York’s El Dorado Task Force and the U.S. Attorney’s Office reflect how seriously we take the rule of law in the United States,” Melendez said. “Veselnitskaya is now on notice and will have to answer for her futile actions.”
The indictment alleges that Veselnitskaya’s emails show she sent multiple drafts of Russia’s Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty filing in the Prevezon case — a document accusing Magnitsky of fraud instead of the company he was investigating — to the personal account of a Russian prosecutor, who sent back edits and insertions.
Numerous additions and edits from Veselnitskaya made it into the final document, while she didn’t disclose to the court that she was an author, the indictment adds.
The single count of obstruction of justice carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.