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Russian "Agent" And A GOP Operator Left A Trail Of Cash, Documents Reveal

 

Federal investigators say some of the money went to Maria Butina’s campaign to help Russia infiltrate American politics.

 

A $45,000 payment to an undisclosed law firm. A cash withdrawal for $14,000. Almost $90,000 sent to or from a Russian bank. These and other bank transactions totaling nearly $300,000, none of which have been made public, offer the first detailed look at how an accused foreign agent and a Republican operative financed what prosecutors say was a Russian campaign to influence American politics.

 

Anti-fraud investigators at Wells Fargo flagged the transactions — by Paul Erickson, a conservative consultant from South Dakota, and Maria Butina, who is in jail awaiting trial on charges of secretly acting as a Russian agent — as “suspicious,” noting in some cases that they could find no “apparent economic, business, or lawful purpose” to explain them. Now counterintelligence officers say the duo’s banking activity could provide a road map of back channels to powerful American entities such as the National Rifle Association, and information about the Kremlin’s attempt to sway the 2016 US presidential election.

 

Cash withdrawals, most of them from Erickson’s personal and business accounts, make up $107,000 of the financial transactions now being investigated. The largest of those withdrawals — $14,000 — occurred in December 2015, when Erickson reportedly traveled to Moscow as part of an NRA delegation. The visit was sponsored by a Russian gun rights organization started by Butina, federal authorities say.

 

The duo also deposited about $90,000 in cash in their accounts, which has made it difficult for investigators to determine the source or purpose of the funds.

 

Bank documents indicate Wells Fargo’s anti–money laundering team began checking Butina’s and Erickson’s bank activity in early 2017, after receiving a referral from the FBI. In a report the bank prepared and shared with the bureau and the US Department of the Treasury's financial crimes division, Wells Fargo officials expressed suspicion about the “significant control” Erickson had over Butina’s account. He had access, Wells Fargo found, to her personal checking account, which she opened in 2014. He frequently made payments on her behalf; the recipients have not been identified.

 

He sometimes appeared to write checks that Butina signed. The bank closed the duo’s personal and business accounts in late 2017.

 

Source - https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/jasonleopold/maria-butina-paul-erickson-suspicious-bank-money-r...

 

 

( " China if You're Listening - Get Trumps Tax Returns " )

" )
" - Anonymous

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Re: Why Look Russian Spy Maria's Friends all GOP

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Accused Russian Spy Maria Butina Told American CEO: Send Cash to Moscow

 

‘It’s more evidence that she had a broader agenda, she was doing other work for the Kremlin,’ one observer tells The Daily Beast.

 

Maria Butina, the accused Russian operative, didn’t just allegedly cultivate the NRA on behalf of the Kremlin. The 29-year-old Russian national also braced one of America’s best-known businessmen, pushing him to increase his investments in his bank in Moscow—a bank that was facing trouble with Kremlin authorities.   

 

The encounter, detailed to The Daily Beast by multiple sources, paints a more detailed picture than previously known of the actions of the alleged foreign agent in the United States. It indicates that courting American politicos wasn’t her only mission.

 

She also took keen interest in contentious, complex matters involving international finance—all while attempting to influence the primary financier of what would become Washington’s most Trump-friendly foreign policy think tank.

 

Butina, who is currently incarcerated, has pleaded not guilty to charges that she worked as a covert operative for the Kremlin, infiltrating the NRA and American conservative politics through a charm offensive that included, according to U.S. prosecutors, a series of sexual favors.

 

“I would think it’s even more evidence that she had a broader agenda, she was doing other work for the Kremlin,” said Evelyn Farkas, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and former Pentagon official focused on Russia. “It’s interesting that she was not only seeking to provide ways for the Russian government to put money into the U.S. political system in order to influence our electoral outcome but that she clearly also was interested in luring American money to Russia.”

 

The story starts in June 2008, with legendary American businessman Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the one-time CEO of insurance and financial services giant AIG. Greenberg’s Starr Russia Investments III bought 20 percent of Investtorgbank, a Russian bank. Banki.ru reported that the fund Greenberg headed paid about $100 million for its share of the bank. In August of 2009, Starr invested another $8 million in the bank, according to court filings in the state of New York.

 

The next year, bank chairman Vladimir Gudkov boasted that business was booming. The bank was looking to expand into Siberia, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine, he told Interfax. He sounded proud that Greenberg’s first foray into investment in the Russian banking sector would be with his bank.

 

But within a few years, things went south. In December 2014, according to court filings, the Russian Central Bank started auditing the bank’s books. Lawyers for Starr say Gudkov and others in the bank engaged in egregious self-dealing, frittering away tens of millions of dollars. The Russian government auditors concluded that by the end of 2014, the bank was insolvent.  

 

Source - https://www.thedailybeast.com/accused-russian-spy-maria-butina-told-american-ceo-send-cash-to-moscow...

 

 

( " China if You're Listening - Get Trumps Tax Returns " )

" )
" - Anonymous

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Re: Why Look Russian Spy Maria's Friends all GOP

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@Panjandrum wrote:

rk9152: 

 

It was a Republican that won the Cold War, ended the USSR, had the Wall torn down.

 

 

You had to go back a couple of decades to when there were actual patriots in the Republican Party? That's a sad state of affairs comrade, but those days are long gone. ROFL

 


I was responding to a poster who went back a half-century. Nothing funny in that.

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Re: Why Look Russian Spy Maria's Friends all GOP

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rk9152: 

 

It was a Republican that won the Cold War, ended the USSR, had the Wall torn down.

 

 

You had to go back a couple of decades to when there were actual patriots in the Republican Party? That's a sad state of affairs comrade, but those days are long gone. ROFL

 

 

 

 

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Re: Why Look Russian Spy Maria's Friends all GOP

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@rk9152 wrote:

@Olderscout66 wrote:

A short answer to why Maria only sought out GOPers is: she knew that for 50 years GOPers have been conditioned to accept totally implausable explanations and behave in direct opposition to their own best interests, making them the ideal stooges for espionage.

 

It must've been a bit unworldly for her - discovering that the NRA could be duped into thinking she represented an actual movement in Russia pushing for an American style heavily armed citizenry that the Russian Oligarchs would welcome as a "counterweight" to the police and military, but these are the folks who support Birthers, deny climate change and truly believe they'd stand a chance in a firefight with the USMC.

 

What is most disturbing is Der Trumper's War Cabnet - Bolton and Pompeo - also bought her speil, Bolton even giving speeches in support of her totally fictional Russian Gun Lobby. Seems Der Trumper is good at one thing - Getting the most gullible people imaginable into the most powerful positions in Government.

 

No wonder the Russians worked so hard to get him elected.


You start with an inaccurate theory and go down hill from there.

 

It was a Republican that won the Cold War, ended the USSR, had the Wall torn down. And that was in a time frame when the Dems were supporting the Sandinistas.

 

 

Is that a reference to the Alzheimer president ronnie ray gun and his vice prez that Noriega truthfully said was in the drug lord's back pocket at that time?

 

So explain away the fact that Butina is in jail with no bond permitted because there's no question that she's a flight risk...

44>dolt45
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@Olderscout66 wrote:

A short answer to why Maria only sought out GOPers is: she knew that for 50 years GOPers have been conditioned to accept totally implausable explanations and behave in direct opposition to their own best interests, making them the ideal stooges for espionage.

 

It must've been a bit unworldly for her - discovering that the NRA could be duped into thinking she represented an actual movement in Russia pushing for an American style heavily armed citizenry that the Russian Oligarchs would welcome as a "counterweight" to the police and military, but these are the folks who support Birthers, deny climate change and truly believe they'd stand a chance in a firefight with the USMC.

 

What is most disturbing is Der Trumper's War Cabnet - Bolton and Pompeo - also bought her speil, Bolton even giving speeches in support of her totally fictional Russian Gun Lobby. Seems Der Trumper is good at one thing - Getting the most gullible people imaginable into the most powerful positions in Government.

 

No wonder the Russians worked so hard to get him elected.


You start with an inaccurate theory and go down hill from there.

 

It was a Republican that won the Cold War, ended the USSR, had the Wall torn down. And that was in a time frame when the Dems were supporting the Sandinistas.

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@mickstuder wrote:


 

Putin, Trump said on Monday, had extended him an “incredible offer”..............................US would give Russia the right to question Bill Browder, an American-born British financier who famously lobbied Congress to pass the Magnitsky Act, which resulted in harsh penalties and sanctions on Russia.

 

Afterwards Russian prosecutors also demanded to interrogate former American ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, a harsh critic of Putin’s regime, in what appeared to be another example of political intimidation.

 

Thats What Happened - I watched it play out Live on Fox News

 

 If it's O.K. with Browder, it's O.K. with me.

 As to McFaul - they demanded, what has that to do with Trump?


 

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Re: Why Look Russian Spy Maria's Friends all GOP

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The feds say Maria Butina was a Russian spy sent to build a secret backchannel to the Kremlin.

 

Sure, she allegedly seduced her way into the senior-most levels of the American conservative movement, but she left a trail of sloppy tradecraft a mile long in the process.

 

Where other Russian spies used fancy encryption software to communicate and wouldn’t talk about their espionage work in anything other than face-to-face meetings, Butina freely direct messaged and emailed the explicit details of her alleged criminal conspiracy on behalf of the Kremlin, according to an FBI affidavit.

 

In addition to her work sidling up to conservative political circles, Butina also displayed a growing interest in cybersecurity, asking friends for advice on Facebook, picking a cybersecurity major at AU, and hitting the think tank event circuit to attend an event on cybersecurity issues.

 

Source - https://www.thedailybeast.com/a-look-at-maria-butinas-spy-career-cyber-seduction-and-bumbling-9?ref=...

 

 

( " China if You're Listening - Get Trumps Tax Returns " )

" )
" - Anonymous

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Re: Why Look Russian Spy Maria's Friends all GOP

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A short answer to why Maria only sought out GOPers is: she knew that for 50 years GOPers have been conditioned to accept totally implausable explanations and behave in direct opposition to their own best interests, making them the ideal stooges for espionage.

 

It must've been a bit unworldly for her - discovering that the NRA could be duped into thinking she represented an actual movement in Russia pushing for an American style heavily armed citizenry that the Russian Oligarchs would welcome as a "counterweight" to the police and military, but these are the folks who support Birthers, deny climate change and truly believe they'd stand a chance in a firefight with the USMC.

 

What is most disturbing is Der Trumper's War Cabnet - Bolton and Pompeo - also bought her speil, Bolton even giving speeches in support of her totally fictional Russian Gun Lobby. Seems Der Trumper is good at one thing - Getting the most gullible people imaginable into the most powerful positions in Government.

 

No wonder the Russians worked so hard to get him elected.

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Hilarious....she seems to know them all.

 

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