US-arrested Maria Butina got the money from billionaire Konstantin Nikolayev
Co-owner of N-Trans financed Right to Bear Arms, the organization Butina had founded.
Maria Butina, who was arrested in the US on suspicion of cooperation with Russian special services, had been getting funds from Konstantin Nikolayev, the billionaire co-owner of N-Trans, The Washington Post reported. Butina is said to have stated this in April when speaking to the US Senate Intelligence Committee.
According to the woman, Nikolayev financed Right to Bear Arms, where she was the chairperson. The businessman’s spokesman confirmed that Nikolayev had been in touch with Butina between 2012 and 2014 when she started the organization. When asked about financial support, he gave to answer.
Konstantin Nikolayev invested in energy and technology companies in the United States, the newspaper notes. He is on the board of directors of a Texan company called American Ethane, which is partly owned by the former head of the Russian presidential administration, Alexander Voloshin, as it had been reported earlier. It was Nikolayev who lent him the money to invest in American Ethane.
Maria Butina was arrested on July 15 in Washington on charges of acting as a foreign agent without proper registration, and conspiracy to work as an agent without registration. Punishment on both counts provides for up to 15 years of imprisonment.
According to the prosecution, Butina tried to establish informal contacts with American politicians and political organizations working on behalf of a "Russian official." She reported to him by e-mail and personal messages on Twitter. Butina was referred to as a "special assistant" of the Central Bank deputy chairman Alexander Torshin, who got affected by the US sanctions in April.