Russian Lawyer in Meeting at Trump Tower Is Charged in Case That Shows Kremlin Ties

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Natalia V. Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who in 2016 met with Trump campaign officials in Trump Tower, was charged on Tuesday in a separate case that showed her close ties to the Kremlin.

Ms. Veselnitskaya was charged by federal prosecutors in New York with seeking to thwart a Justice Department civil fraud investigation into money laundering that involved an influential Russian businessman and his investment firm.

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 charges that after the Justice Department asked the Russian government to assist its investigation, the Russian government refused, responding with a letter that purported to exonerate Russian officials and the firm’s personnel.

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.

Ms. Veselnitskaya, 43, is believed to be in Russia. The United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, which moved to unseal the indictment on Tuesday, gave no indication that it expected her to be sent to Manhattan to face charges.

The new indictment again raises questions about whom Ms. Veselnitskaya was representing when she met with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and others at Trump Tower in Manhattan during the campaign.

That meeting is one focus of the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. It was organized after an intermediary promised that Ms. Veselnitskaya would deliver documents that would incriminate Hillary Clinton.

Last April, Ms. Veselnitskaya acknowledged in an interview with NBC News that she was not merely a private lawyer, but a source of information for the Russian prosecutor general, Yuri Y. Chaika.

Now prosecutors say she collaborated clandestinely with that office to write an official letter than benefitted her client, the investment firm Prevezon Holdings Ltd., and its owner, Denis P. Katsyv, in the Justice Department’s civil fraud case.

For years, Ms. Veselnitskaya has been regarded as a trusted insider and go-to lawyer for the Moscow regional government.

In the fraud case, filed in 2013, the prosecutors in the Southern District accused Prevezon and other defendants of using real estate purchases in New York to launder a small portion of the profits of an elaborate $230 million Russian tax fraud scheme.

The broader Russian scheme had been uncovered by Sergei L. Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who was imprisoned after exposing the scheme and died in a Moscow jail.