A Russian deputy attorney general who is thought to have directed attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya in her efforts abroad on behalf of Russia’s government died Wednesday night in a helicopter crash.
The Daily Beast reports that Albertovich Karapetyan died Wedesday night in an unauthorized helicopter flight that ended in a crash near the village of Vonyshevo, northeast of Moscow.
Karapetyan was reportedly behind Veselnitskaya’s global efforts to lobby lawmakers to overturn anti-corruption acts such as the U.S. Magnitsky Act, a law similar to others around the world passed in honor of Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer who died during the course of exposing a $230 million fraud scheme in Russia.
A letter sent on behalf of Russia’s government to a U.S. court in 2014 refusing assistance into an investigation concerning Magnitsky’s death was signed by Karapetyan, The Daily Beast reported, and was drafted reportedly with aid from Veselnitskaya.
Veselnitskaya would go on two years later to be involved in a meeting with , , and at Trump Tower under the presumption of Veselnitskaya presenting damaging information on , ‘s 2016 opponent, to the Trump campaign.
Trump Jr. has maintained publicly that the meeting resulted in the knowledge that Veselnitskaya had no damaging information to offer, calling it a “waste of time.”
Veselnitskaya, however, has said publicly that the two discussed the Magnitsky Act during the meeting, in which Trump Jr. allegedly pledged to look at the issue once Trump had assumed office.
“[I]f we come to power, we can return to this issue and think what to do about it. I understand our side may have messed up, but it’ll take a long time to get to the bottom of it,” she recalled Trump Jr. saying in an interview with Bloomberg News.
The meeting has come under intense scrutiny in the ongoing special counsel investigation headed by Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE , which is seeking to determine if members of the Trump campaign knowingly worked with Russian agents engaged in election interference during the 2016 campaign.
Trump Jr. and other members of the campaign and eventual Trump administration have repeatedly denied any collusion with Russia during the 2016 election.