Also On POLITICO The Linesman Russia’s bloody World Cup By Minky Worden euro press review Donald Trump, Theresa May and a ‘wrecked Brexit’ By Gabriela Galindo Most of the disputed statements relate to allegations by Browder that when Akhmetshin and others met the Trump officials in 2016, the lobbyist and businessman was acting on behalf of Putin in some capacity.“In my opinion, you had a member of Putin’s secret police directly meeting with the son of the future next president of the United States asking to change U.S. sanctions policy crucial to Putin,” Browder told Business Insider, in one example noted in the suit.The suit, which seeks a minimum of $1 million in damages, says Browder’s statements have hurt Akmetshin’s lobbying business.According to the suit, Browder’s claims were false.“Akhmetshin did not (and has never) represented the Russian government or any Russian government official at the Trump Tower meeting,” the complaint asserts. “Akhmetshin is not, and has never been, a Russian GRU officer, intelligence asset, or spy for the Russian Federation or former Soviet Union.”The suit, which seeks a minimum of $1 million in damages, says Browder’s statements have hurt Akmetshin’s lobbying business in Washington. A Russian-American lobbyist who attended the infamous meeting with Trump campaign officials at Trump Tower in June 2016 has filed a libel lawsuit against one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent critics.Rinat Akhmetshin filed the civil case Thursday against investor Bill Browder in federal court in Washington, alleging that Browder repeatedly defamed him by labeling him as a Russian intelligence operative.The lawsuit cites a series of statements Browder made last July on Twitter and in interviews with news outlets, calling Akhmetshin a “Russian intelligence asset” and “a Russian GRU officer.” The GRU is Russia’s main military intelligence agency focused overseas. Browder did not respond to messages Thursday night seeking comment.Browder became a crusader for sanctions against Russia after the death in a Russian prison in 1999 of his lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, who was investigating an alleged tax fraud corruption scheme. Browder’s campaign to expose Russian human rights abuses led to passage in the U.S. in 2012 of the Magnitsky Act, imposing sanctions on alleged rights violators. The investor also has pressed for parallel Russia-sanctions legislation in other countries.Akhmetshin and others have argued that Browder’s initial claims about the tax scheme were misplaced and that Browder was actually engaged in tax fraud. The Russian-American lobbyist also helped organize a documentary movie screening at the Newseum in 2016 in a bid to encourage Congress to revisit the Magnitsky Act and warm relations with Russia.Along with another attendee at the Trump Tower meeting, Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, Akhmetshin helped found the Human Rights Accountability Global Initiative. The group’s announced focus was trying to help unfreeze adoptions Russia cut off after passage of the Magnitsky Act, but foreign policy analysts believe the aim was actually to advance the interests of Russian businesses and individuals targeted by the sanctions.HRAGI and Akhmetshin have come under scrutiny by special counsel Robert Mueller as he probes Russian influence on the Trump campaign. The Russian-American lobbyist testified last August before a grand jury used by Mueller, multiple press reports said.Akhmetshin is represented in the suit by New York attorneys Michael Tremonte and Michael Gibaldi of law firm Sher Tremonte and by Washington lawyer Kim Sperduto of law firm Sperduto Thomson Gassler.