Deep in the Swamp, playing for Clinton and the Kremlin
Both before and after a shady, Kremlin-tied lawyer met with Donald Trump Jr. and other Trump campaign officials in June 2016, she consulted with a top official of Fusion GPS, the firm now known to have been commissioned by the Clinton campaign to produce the infamous Trump dossier.
A report by Fox News suggests there may thus have been coordination regarding the dossier between the Fusion principal, Glenn Simpson, and the Russian attorney, Natalia Veselnitskaya. That possibility cannot be discounted. After all, we don’t know what their discussions entailed, even though Simpson has met behind closed doors with congressional investigators.
But there’s a more plausible explanation. Their consultations were almost surely dominated by — if perhaps not exclusively taken up with — the civil forfeiture federal prosecutors were then pursuing against Prevezon Holdings, a Kremlin-crony company for which both Fusion and Veselnitskaya were working. To understand why, recall what was going on in the case at the time.
There has been a great deal of news in recent weeks about Perkins Coie, the law firm that represented the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, and that retained Fusion — which, in turn, hired former British spy Christopher Steele to compile the dossier. Less attention has been paid to Baker Hostetler, the law firm that represented Prevezon, and that retained Fusion to do research in connection with the forfeiture case.
Prevezon is controlled by the Katsyv family — specifically Denis Katsyv, the son of Pyotr Katsyv, a high-ranking Russian transportation official and close confederate of Russian strongman Vladimir Putin. Veselnitskaya is a lawyer for the Katsyvs in Moscow, a big part of what makes her a trusted Kremlin operative.
Prevezon was one of the companies allegedly involved in the swindle of hundreds of millions of dollars from the Russian financial fund Hermitage. This is the spectacular fraud that was uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky, a private investigator in Moscow. Upon exposing the Putin regime’s culpability, he was imprisoned, tortured and killed. This atrocity drove Congress to enact the 2012 Magnitsky Act.
It was this legislation that enabled federal prosecutors in Manhattan to seek to forfeit up to $230 million in fraud proceeds from Prevezon. In conjunction with advocating for Prevezon, lobbying the US government to repeal the Magnitsky Act has been Veselnitskaya’s main work in America. It’s a major Putin priority.
Veselnitskaya is not admitted to practice law in the United States. Obviously, Prevezon needed American lawyers. The company, in consultation with Veselnitskaya, retained Baker Hostetler.
This was extremely controversial: Baker Hostetler had done extensive work for Hermitage, specifically in connection with the fraud that, according to federal prosecutors, Prevezon benefited from.