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U.S. Democrats Question Settlement With Russian Firm Linked To Veselnitskaya


Russian lawyer Natalya Veselnitskaya

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives have questioned a decision by the Justice Department to settle a lawsuit against a Russian-owned holding company in light of its ties to a Russian lawyer now under scrutiny for meeting last year with President Donald Trump's son.

Natalya Veselnitskaya represented the owner of Cyprus-based Prevezon Holdings. A letter sent by the House Judiciary Committee's top Democrat, John Conyers, and other Democrats asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions whether Veselnitskaya was involved in settlement negotiations between the Russian firm and the department.

Prevezon agreed in May to pay $6 million to avoid a civil trial on charges that the firm had laundered proceeds from a $230 million Russian tax-fraud scheme.

Veselnitskaya represented Russian businessman Denis Katsyv, one of Prevezon's main owners. Katsyv backed a lobbying campaign last year that was aimed at scuttling the Magnitsky Act, a 2012 law that authorizes sanctions against human rights abusers in Russia.

The Democrats asked why the department settled with Prevezon two days before trial and asked whether Trump, his family, or aides contacted the department about the case.

Veselnitskaya met in June 2016 with Donald Trump Jr., who had been promised she would provide damaging information about Hillary Clinton on behalf of the Russian government.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP
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