According to the Daily Beast, a top Swiss police investigator identified only as Victor K was fired last week in a case that some are describing as an effort by Russians to make him a virtual double agent. Against the direct orders of his superiors, Victor went to Russia and was put up in a luxury hotel to meet with the office that allegedly offered dirt on Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump Jr. in the infamous Trump Tower meeting. In Washington, he was promptly put into a meeting with the main figure from the Trump Tower: Natalia Veselnitskaya. Once again, she wanted to talk about the whole Magnitsky controversy where huge amounts of money reportedly were generated for powerful Russian figures in a $230 million fraud scheme. The Swiss were zeroing in on that money which may have been laundered through Swiss accounts.
The Swiss official was brought to Russia to meet with Deputy Russian Attorney General Saak Albertovich Karapetyan before Christmas 2016. Note the timing. The Trump Tower meeting occurred in June 2016. However, the meeting was not revealed until June 2017. Months after the Trump Tower meeting, the Russians were still using Veselnitskaya in meetings with targeted officials.
The meeting with Veselnitskaya has been described as an effort to create a double agent but the description from the Swiss is not so clear. The Swiss Federal Administrative Court is cited as ruling that this amounted to unacceptable “unauthorized clandestine behavior” and left “the impression that they do not have their employees under control and thus creates an unpredictable security risk in their delicate field.” That does not necessarily sound like espionage but it was clearly an effort to lure this official to Russia to influence him and his investigation.
The Swiss court was told that Veselnitskaya had raised the Magnitsky case with the Swiss officials, just as she had with Donald Trump Jr.
Once again, the taking of this meeting by Donald Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort still ranks as one of the greatest blunders in United States political history. Veselnitskaya certainly has the profile of an asset of the Russians. Otherwise, she has a curious habit of appearing in some truly suspicious meetings. At worse, she could be an agent. The point is that any such meeting — whether by Swiss or American figures — should have occurred only after consultation with intelligence or appropriate officials. I do not fault the interest in hearing about alleged evidence of criminal conduct by an opponent but such meetings with a foreign national should have been raised first with the FBI and addressed in a more careful manner.