The Prevezon case was settled for $6m with no admission of guilt

Waaaaaait a second.

I’m not sure I’m reading this right.

The Guardian has a big investigative multi-author story on Russian money-laundering and Trumps and lawsuits and all that.

A Guardian investigation has established a series of overlapping ties and relationships involving alleged Russian money laundering, New York real estate deals and members of Trump’s inner circle. They include a 2015 sale of part of the old New York Times building in Manhattan involving Kushner and a billionaire real estate tycoon and diamond mogul, Lev Leviev.

Go on.

Leviev, a global tycoon known as the “king of diamonds”, was a business partner of the Russian-owned company Prevezon Holdings that was at the center of a multimillion-dollar lawsuit launched in New York. Under the leadership of US attorney Preet Bharara, who was fired by Trump in March, prosecutors pursued Prevezon for allegedly attempting to use Manhattan real estate deals to launder money stolen from the Russian treasury.

The scam had been uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky, an accountant who died in 2009 in a Moscow jail in suspicious circumstances. US sanctions against Russia imposed after Magnitsky’s death were a central topic of conversation at the notorious Trump Tower meeting last June between Kushner, Donald Trump Jr, Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin.

What? Kushner did this deal with Leviev in 2015, and Preet Bharara prosecuted Prevzon (linked to Leviev)?

Oh but it gets worse.

Two days before it was due to open in court in May, the Prevezon case was settled for $6m with no admission of guilt on the part of the defendants. But since details of the Trump Tower meeting emerged, the abrupt settlement of the Prevezon case has come under renewed scrutiny from congressional investigators.

May 6 this year.

Four Russians attended the meeting, led by Natalia Veselnitskaya, a lawyer with known Kremlin connections who acted as legal counsel for Prevezon in the money laundering case and who called the $6m settlement so slight that “it seemed almost an apology from the government”. Sixteen Democratic members of the House judiciary committee have now written to the justice department in light of the Trump Tower meeting demanding to know whether there was any interference behind the decision to avoid trial.

Holy shit.

Question: was this meeting the meeting to settle the case? Or was it the meeting with Don 2 last year? It seems to mean the former, but it’s not crystal clear. If it is the former…jeeeeezus.

Constitutional experts are also demanding an official inquiry. “We need a full accounting by Trump’s justice department of the unexplained and frankly outrageous settlement that is likely to be just the tip of a vast financial iceberg,” said Laurence Tribe, Harvard University professor of constitutional law.


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