Rus­sia presses new charges

The Niagara Falls Review - - WORLD NEWS - The As­so­ci­ated Press

MOSCOW — Rus­sian in­ves­ti­ga­tors are press­ing new charges against fi­nancier Wil­liam Brow­der, a Bri­tish cit­i­zen who has spear­headed a law tar­get­ing Rus­sian of­fi­cials over hu­man rights abuses.

Rus­sia’s state TV’s top weekly news show said the charges re­late to the al­leged il­le­gal fun­nelling of funds. Late Sun­day’s show fea­tured Pros­e­cu­tor-General Yuri Chaika al­leg­ing that Brow­der used the al­legedly il­le­gal pro­ceeds to spon­sor the 2012 U.S. law that im­posed travel bans and froze as­sets of dozen of Rus­sian of­fi­cials.

The Mag­nit­sky Act was named af­ter Brow­der’s for­mer em­ployee, Sergei Mag­nit­sky, who died in jail af­ter ac­cus­ing Rus­sian of­fi­cials of in­volve­ment in a tax fraud scheme. The new charges against Brow­der fol­low his 2013 con­vic­tion in ab­sen­tia by a Moscow court on tax eva­sion charges. Brow­der has dis­missed the ac­cu­sa­tions against him as a sham.

The Rus­sian state TV show also fea­tured Rus­sian lawyer Natalia Ve­sel­nit­skaya, who has tes­ti­fied during the hear­ings in Moscow’s Tver­skoy Dis­trict Court on the new case against Brow­der.

Ve­sel­nit­skaya has be­come known for her June 2016 meet­ing at Trump Tower in New York with Don­ald Trump Jr. The meet­ing was billed in emails to Trump Jr. as part of a Rus­sian gov­ern­ment effort to aid U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s elec­tion cam­paign by pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion that could be used against Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hil­lary Clin­ton.

Ve­sel­nit­skaya, Trump Jr. and oth­ers present, in­clud­ing Trump son-in-law Jared Kush­ner and for­mer cam­paign chair­man Paul Manafort, have in­sisted that it mostly in­volved the Mag­nit­sky Act and a Rus­sian re­tal­ia­tory measure that banned U.S. adop­tions of Rus­sian chil­dren.

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