News & Opinion | August 1, 2018 10:40 am

Accused Russian Spy Maria Butina Told An American CEO To Send Money To Moscow

This may be evidence of a much broader agenda.

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Mariia Butina, whose name is sometimes spelled Maria, was arrested in Washington on July 15, 2018 and appeared in court on July 16, the Justice Department said. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images

According to The Daily Beast, accused Russian operative Maria Butina did not just cultivate the National Rifle Association on behalf of the Kremlin — she also pushed one of America’s best-known businessmen to increase his investments in his bank in Moscow. A bank that was facing financial collapse, writes The Daily Beast, who spoke to multiple sources.

The 29-year-old was not just interested in courting American politicos, but had a keen interest in contentious, complex matters that all revolved around international finance. The Daily Beast writes that Butina was trying to influence the “primary financier of what would become Washington’s most Trump-friendly foreign-policy think tank.”

“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 a former Pentagon official focused on Russia, according to The Daily Beast. “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.”