Lobbyist received half a million in Russia-linked deposits around 2016 Trump Tower meeting: report

A lobbyist who attended the 2016 Trump Tower meeting received half a million dollars in deposits linked to a Russian businessman before and after the time of the meeting, BuzzFeed reported Monday.

The outlet reports that Rinat Akhmetshin, a former Soviet military officer, deposited large sums of the cash in the months before and after the meeting. The deposits were flagged by bank investigators as suspicious.

It is not clear whether the payments were related to the meeting's timing. Akhmetshin downplayed his participation in the meeting in testimony to Congress in 2017, saying he was actually in New York City to see a play.

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Akhmetshin, who attended the meeting with Veselnitskaya, received several payments around the Trump Tower meeting that were flagged by bank investigators for being unexplained.

One was a large payment directly from Russian businessman Denis Katsyv, according to BuzzFeed, as well as several others through a foundation funded by Katsyv and from the firm BakerHostetler, which was hired by Katsyv's company Prevezon.

Katsyv's company Prevezon Holdings was previously accused of laundering money in a Russian tax fraud scheme by the Department of Justice, BuzzFeed noted. That case was settled in 2017.

The documents BuzzFeed reviewed were also given to special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's team for its investigation into collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Special counsel spokesman Peter Carr declined to tell BuzzFeed whether Mueller is investigating the transactions.

Congressional investigators have also reportedly requested the financial information from the Treasury Department.

Akhmetshin and his lawyers did not respond to multiple requests for comment from BuzzFeed. Reached in person, the lobbyist told the outlet to “Get the f--- out of here, okay?”

“Don’t bother with questions,” Veselnitskaya told BuzzFeed. “Your article is paid for and you have your text ready. Don’t be distracted from what you consider the meaning of life.”