Russian lawyer’s request to return to the U.S. denied

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Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who met with Donald Trump Jr. during the 2016 presidential campaign, won’t be returning to the United States as she had hoped. A judge denied her request to come back to the U.S. to attend a hearing over an unpaid $6 million settlement in an international money laundering case.

According to an order filed in Manhattan federal court on Friday, U.S. District Judge William Pauley said Veselnitskaya’s immigration status was “squarely within the purview of the executive branch.”

Veselnitskaya represented Prevezon Holdings Ltd, a Russian-controlled company, which in May agreed to pay nearly $6 million to settle a U.S. government lawsuit accusing it of laundering proceeds of a $230 million tax fraud. However, her temporary permission from the U.S. Department of Justice to enter the United States while working on the case has expired.

Following the judge’s order on Monday, an American lawyer for Prevezon filed a letter asking that Veselnitskaya be allowed to appear at the hearing, which is scheduled for Nov. 9, via telephone.

In May, Prevezon agreed to pay nearly $6 million to the U.S. government to settle a $230 million Russian tax fraud case related to Hermitage Capital, an American investment fund and asset management company that invests in Russian markets. In a Manhattan federal court filing on Monday, U.S. prosecutors said the settlement payment was due on Oct. 31, but lawyers for Prevezon disagreed.

Prevezon had asked the court to help obtain temporary U.S. immigration status for Veselnitskaya and its owner, Denis Katsyv, so they could attend hearings.

The news comes amid federal and congressional probes into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Veselnitskaya featured prominently in headlines about the probe last summer when it was revealed that Trump Jr. had accepted a meeting with her after he was told he would receive negative information on Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

In the end, Trump Jr. called his meeting with Veselnitskaya a “waste of time.”

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