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Mueller looking into adoption group funded by Russia: report

Mueller looking into adoption group funded by Russia: report
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Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's team of investigators is reportedly looking into a foundation ostensibly focused on resuming American adoptions of Russian children.

The foundation, the Human Rights Accountability Global Initiative, is financed by $500,000 in donations, mainly from wealthy Russians with ties to Petr Katsyv, a top official in Russia's state-owned rail company, according to Bloomberg

On its surface, the group bills itself as a nonprofit working "to help restart American adoption of Russian children,” according to its website, much of which remains "under construction" — and has since the group was founded last year, the news outlet added.

Most of the Russians who financed the nonprofit told Bloomberg they were not aware of the issues surrounding American adoptions of Russian children.

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The Russian government banned American adoptions of Russian children in 2012 in retaliation for the U.S. passing the Magnitsky Act, which put sanctions on Russian officials implicated in the death of Sergei Magnitsky, an accountant who died in police custody in 2009 after nearly a year in prison.

There are currently 49 individuals on the sanctions list, five of which were added on Wednesday. 

According to Bloomberg, the foundation has served as a lobbying mechanism against the Magnitsky Act. A representative for the organization, Rinat Akhmetshin, met with then-candidate Trump's eldest son and son-in-law at Trump Tower in New York last year about the sanctions. A Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, attended that meeting as well.

Now, Mueller's team is looking at the foundation as part of its investigation into Russian efforts to meddle in the 2016 election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow. 

Investigators recently interviewed an employee for the foundation, Robert Arakelian, according to Bloomberg.