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.

Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpWhite House calls Democratic witness's mentioning of president's youngest son 'classless' Lawmakers to watch during Wednesday's impeachment hearing Top Democrats knock Trump on World AIDS Day MOREJared KushnerJared Corey KushnerThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - Democrats to release articles of impeachment today On The Money: White House, Dems edge closer to trade deal | GOP worries about Trump concessions | DOJ argues Congress can't sue Trump on emoluments | Former Fed chief Volcker dies White House, Democrats edge closer to deal on trade MORE and then-campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortDOJ backs ex-Trump campaign aide Rick Gates's probation request Former FBI general counsel wants apology from Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - Democrats to release articles of impeachment today MORE met at Trump Tower in June 2016 with a Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, who had promised compromising information on Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDOJ backs ex-Trump campaign aide Rick Gates's probation request The media have fallen out of love with Bernie, but have voters? Trump request for Ukrainian 'favor' tops notable quote list MORE.

ADVERTISEMENT
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 MuellerTrump says he'll release financial records before election, knocks Dems' efforts House impeachment hearings: The witch hunt continues Speier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump 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.”