Lawyer of Russian woman detained in US refutes her spying for Russia
According to Maria Butina’s attorney, she is in the US on a student visa.
The lawyer of Russian woman Maria Butina rounded up in the US on charges of espionage denied her link to Russian intelligence, Gazeta.ru reports. According to the attorney, Butina is in the US on a student visa and has recently graduated from the American University in Washington with a master's degree in international relations.
Butina was detained on July 15 in Washington. She was accused of "concert with the purpose of working as an agent of a foreign state" without proper registration. Moreover, she is charged with attempts to "develop relationships with US persons and infiltrate organizations having influence in American politics." According to the prosecution, she acted without official disclosure of the fact that she was an agent of the Russian government. Butina faces five years’ incarceration.
The day before Butina appeared before the District Court for the District of Columbia. She will remain in custody until the hearing set for July 18. The investigators assume that from 2015 to February 2017 the Russian woman took orders from a spokesperson of a high-ranking statesman that used to be a member of the Russian parliament and now holds high office in the Central Bank of the Russian Federation. According to the US Justice Department, now this person is subject to sanctions. The American media reported this probably refers to the Deputy Chairman of the Bank of Russia, Alexander Torshin. Earlier Torshin was Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council.
The Chairman of the Federation Council Committee, Konstantin Kosachev, called Butina's detention a reaction of American security officials to the results of the meeting between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump in Helsinki, TASS reports. "The anti-Russian machine resists by all available means," Kosachev stated. The parliamentarian also guaranteed the detainee protection and support, if her Russian citizenship was confirmed. He also stressed that the Americans were obliged to officially notify the Russian side of the detention, but it was not yet clear whether this had been done. "If not, this is yet another violation of
The US media previously mentioned Butina in connection with the investigation into interference in the election of the US president. The Russian woman was reported to have participated in Donald Trump’s election race and have had a joint business with the famous Republican Paul Eriсkson.
The detention is related to the investigation into the abduction and murder of Tatyana Sidorova, a deputy of the Ramenskoye District Legislature, and three members of her family, which occurred back in 2012.