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Russian Woman Accused of Trying to Sway Midterms

Russian Woman Accused of Trying to Sway Midterms

The statement was released the same day the US Justice Department unsealed a criminal complaint against Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova, a Russian national who is accused of helping oversee the finances of a sweeping, secretive effort to sway American public opinion through social media in the 2018 midterm elections.

The move comes as top USA law enforcement and intelligence agencies warn Americans about ongoing efforts by Russia, China and other foreign actors to interfere in the 2018 midterm and 2020 presidential elections.

"Increased intelligence and information sharing among federal, state and local partners has improved our awareness of ongoing and persistent threats to election infrastructure", ODNI said in a joint statement with the FBI, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security.

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly denounced the official investigation, led by special prosecutor Robert Mueller, as a "witch hunt".

The agencies said they had no evidence that any foreign actor sought to compromise voting systems in a bid to prevent voting, change results or prevent authorities from tallying votes in the November congressional elections.

The oligarch, Evgeny Viktorovich Prigozhin, was indicted in February in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's separate investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.




Prigozhin, sometimes dubbed "Putin's chef" because he has managed catering for the Russian leader, was already indicted in February along with 12 other IRA employees over their disinformation campaigns during the 2016 presidential election.

The conspirators also "took extraordinary steps" to appear as American political activists, officials say, by creating "thousands of social media and email accounts" that gave the illusion that they were operated by USA citizens.

The conduct singled out Friday runs afoul of criminal laws that bar foreign nationals from attempting to influence American elections or from engaging in political activities without first registering with the attorney general, prosecutors said. The financial documents she controlled include detailed expenses for activities in the United States, such as expenditures for activists, advertisements on social media platforms, registration of domain names, the purchase of proxy servers, and "promoting news postings on social networks".

The Khusyaynova case is being prosecuted by assistant USA attorneys in the Eastern District of Virginia.

The charges against Ms Khusyaynova come as White House National Security Advisor John Bolton is due to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow.

Mueller's office has not announced any new indictments since July when it charged 12 Russian intelligence officers who were accused of hacking Democratic computer networks as part of Russian meddling in the 2016 United States election.

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