Reuters: Butina met with top officials at Treasury, Federal Reserve

Reuters: Butina met with top officials at Treasury, Federal Reserve
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The 29-year-old Russian woman accused of working as a foreign agent in the U.S. reportedly met with senior officials in the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve in 2015.

Sources familiar with the meetings and the think tank that helped set them up told Reuters that Maria Butina met with Stanley Fischer, then-vice chairman of the Fed, and Nathan Sheets, then undersecretary for international affairs at the U.S. Treasury.

Butina was indicted last week on charges of conspiracy and acting as an agent of the Russian Federation without notifying the attorney general. She is accused of trying to infiltrate the National Rifle Association (NRA) to advance Russian interests in the U.S.

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She is being held in custody while awaiting trial after Assistant U.S. Attorney Erik Kenerson argued that she is a flight risk.

The Reuters report indicates that Butina’s contacts were with higher-level officials than previously reported. The Center for the National Interest, a Washington-based think tank focused on foreign policy, set up the meetings between Butina and the officials, according to the news service.

Alexander Torshin, then the Russian Central Bank deputy governor, also met with Sheets and Fischer separately, though he and Butina traveled together, Reuters reported.

The Center for the National Interest described the meetings as bringing together “leading figures from the financial institutions of the United States and Russia” in a report seen by Reuters.

Fischer confirmed to the news service that he met with Torshin and his interpreter. Butina often served as Torshin’s interpreter. Sheets declined to comment to Reuters through a spokesman.

The Justice Department indictment alleges that Butina “worked at the direction of a high-level official in the Russian government,” believed to be Torshin.

Torshin, who is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been the focus of Democrats in the Senate Judiciary Committee, who claimed earlier this year that they had obtained documents suggesting that Russia had used the NRA to funnel money to the Trump campaign.

This post was updated at 11:33 a.m. on July 24 to correct the description of the Center for the National Interest.