American hedge-fund manager and Russia critic Bill Browder plans to testify Thursday to the Senate Judiciary Committee that the Moscow lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr. last year had clear ties to President Vladimir Putin.
“What I know for sure is that the lawyer represents the family of a senior member of the Putin regime,” Browder, CEO of Hermitage Capital, told Erin Burnett on CNN.
He was referring to lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who met with Trump Jr. in June 2016 at Trump Tower in New York.
The meeting was also attended by brother-in-law Jared Kushner and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
In addition, Russian-American lobbyist named Rinat Akhmetshin was there – and Browder is expected to discuss him in his Senate testimony.
“She was paid for, funded and acted on behalf of this person in the United States in relation to withdrawing the Magnitsky sanctions,” he told Burnett.
At the time of the Trump Jr. meeting, Veselnitskaya was helping to defend a Moscow company against charges that it had engaged in money laundering from a $230 million Russian tax-fraud scheme.
The fraud was exposed by Sergei Magnitsky, a Moscow lawyer whose death in jail in 2009 led U.S. lawmakers to enact a law named for him that imposed travel and financial sanctions against Russians believed to be involved in his death.
The law has so angered President Vladimir Putin that he banned U.S. adoptions of Russian children – and Veselnitskaya was working with lobbyists trying to weaken the Magnitsky Act.
Browder initially hired Magnitsky and has been the driving force behind the legislation named for him.
“Vladimir Putin wants to have the Magnitsky Act repealed as one of his top foreign policy priorities,” he said, “and these people were working to repeal that.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.