Russian Oligarch Hired Lawyer Who Met Donald Trump Jr 

He paid shadowy research company behind dirty dossier – then settled $230million money laundering case for just $6million

By Alana Goodman

  • Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya’s meeting with the Trump campaign last June was part of a larger, multi-pronged lobbying campaign in Washington 
  • Veselnitskaya’s boss Denis Katsyv spearheaded the lobbying campaign against the U.S. ‘Magnitsky Act’ that has hurt his financial interests
  •  The operation included an effort to influence the Trump campaign’s Russia policy, as well as targeted meetings with members of congress
  • At the time Katsyv was charged with $230million in money-laundering offenses
  • But days before the case was due to come to trial in New York in May of this year, it was settled for just $6million

Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya’s meeting with Donald Trump Jr  last June was part of a larger, multi-pronged lobbying campaign in Washington last year launched by Veselnitskaya’s boss, a Russian real estate mogul who was facing U.S. money laundering charges.

Denis Katsyv, the businessman son of a senior Moscow official, spearheaded the lobbying campaign against the U.S. ‘Magnitsky Act’ that has hurt his financial interests.

The operation included an effort to influence the Trump campaign’s Russia policy, as well as targeted meetings with members of congress, events on Capitol Hill, and media outreach to circulate stories that discredited an opponent of the Putin administration.

At the time he was charged with $230million in money-laundering offenses. But days before the case was due to come to trial in New York in May of this year, it was settled for just $6million.

While he was awaiting trial, Veselnitskaya and Katsyv’s legal team enlisted numerous lobbyists and operatives – including Fusion GPS, the research firm that went on to compile the explosive ‘dossier’ that claimed the Trump campaign was colluding with the Kremlin.

Other operatives included Ron Dellums, a former Democratic congressman from California, who spent at least one afternoon scrambling to meet with members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee about the issue last summer.

Katsyv also formed a group called the Human Rights Accountability Global Initiative Foundation, which first registered to lobby last April.

The group is run by lobbyists Rinat Akhmetshin and Robert Arakelian and spent nearly $200,000 on lobbying last year. It says in its disclosure forms that it focuses on ‘foreign adoption issues,’ a term that has become shorthand for opponents of the Magnitsky Act.

The Magnitsky Act is a suite of financial sanctions targeting Russian officials and businesses that was passed by congress in 2012. The law is named after dissident lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died after injuries he sustained in Russian prison in 2009.

In response to the sanctions, the Russian government banned Americans from adopting children in the country.

Critics of the Magnitsky Act imply that Russia would end the adoption ban in exchange for concessions on the Magnitsky law.

They have also raised questions about Sergei Magnitsky’s death, suggesting he was not abused in prison and that he was financially corrupt despite claiming to be a government whistleblower.

At the height of the lobbying campaign last June, Veselnitskaya managed to obtain a meeting with Trump’s son and other members of his inner circle, and also secured a front-row seat at a Senate hearing right behind Michael McFaul, then the U.S. ambassador to Russia.

Meanwhile, Fusion GPS pitched the New York Times, NBC and other outlets on stories that were critical of Magnitsky and his former client, businessman Bill Browder. However, none of the stories gained traction.

Other lobbyists working for Katsyv sought sit-downs with prominent congressmen on foreign affairs, including Rep. Gregory Meeks, Rep. Jim McGovern and Rep. French Hill.

They also set up a screening on Capitol Hill last summer for a film that questioned Magnitsky’s reputation as a whistleblower called The Magnitsky Act Behind the Scenes.

The screening drew State Department officials and Capitol Hill staffers, including aides from Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s office

.

While he was awaiting trial, Veselnitskaya and Katsyv’s legal team enlisted numerous lobbyists and operatives – including Fusion GPS, the research firm that went on to compile the explosive ‘dossier’ that claimed the Trump campaign was colluding with the Kremlin. Veselnitskaya is seen above in this November 2016 photo

Largely unsuccessful. Most significant outcome was the fallout faced by Trump over his son’s meeting with Veselnitskaya.

The meeting was arranged by Goldstone, the portly British music manager whose links to Veselnitskaya remain unclear.

Goldstone told Don Jr. that Veselnitskaya wanted to give the campaign damaging information about Hillary Clinton on behalf of the Russian government. However, Don Jr. said Veselnitskaya never produced the Clinton material and instead spent the time discussing Russia policy issues.

Whether the lobbying campaign was directly coordinated with the Kremlin is up for debate. Katsyv had personal financial interests. But his motivations were also in line with the Kremlin, which has also fought to unravel the Magnitsky Act.

The outcome however was clearly good news for Katsyv.

U.S. prosecutors claimed that companies owned by Katsyv through his Prevezon Holdings, and other prominent Russians, evaded taxes on hundreds of millions of dollars by laundering it through foreign banks.

Katsyv reportedly sought a deal with the federal government in 2015 by offering to act as an informant on Russian criminal activity, but no settlement was reached at the time.

At that point the case was under the supervision of Preet Bhrarara, the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan who was fired by Donald Trump in March.

Despite pursuing the case for years, the U.S. government unexpectedly agreed to a settlement before going to civil trial, which was announced in May.

Under the agreement, the companies will have to pay around $6million in penalties.

The link to Fusion GPS also raises new questions. The firm, founded by ex-Wall Street Journal reporters, was behind the now notorious dirty dossier.

The dossier written by former British spy Christopher Steele included claims that Trump was being blackmailed by the Russian government over his escapades with Russian prostitutes in Moscow.

 

The document quoted anonymous Russian sources who said the government had videotape of Trump paying escorts to urinate on a hotel room bed that President Obama once slept in.

That salacious claim, and others in the dossier that linked Trump insiders to Russian officials, has not been corroborated.

The dossier was released after the presidential election, and prompted calls from Democrats to investigate possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

That salacious claim, and others in the dossier that linked Trump insiders to Russian officials, has not been corroborated.

The dossier was released after the presidential election, and prompted calls from Democrats to investigate possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

This article was first published by The Daily Maily –

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

See also

Russian lawyer pictured with Obama’s Ambassador to Russia after meeting Trump Jr.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/47426.htm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s