Federal Bureau of Investigation scrutinizing Russian embassy payments 'to finance election campaign of 2016'

Elias Hubbard
November 15, 2017

Using a Kremlin-connected bank as middleman, the foreign ministry apparently transferred more than $380,000 to 60 embassies across the world between August 3 and September 20 a year ago, including a $30,000 transaction to the embassy in Washington, D.C., according to BuzzFeed News.

A new report from BuzzFeed claims that the FBI is investigating a series of money transfers made from the Russian foreign ministry to its embassies that were designated specifically "to finance election campaign of 2016". An overwhelming majority of the wire transfers included the eyebrow-raising memo line.

BuzzFeed cited a specific payment of $30,000 which the Russian foreign ministry sent to its embassy in Washington, D.C. The wire transfer into the Russian embassy's USA bank account didn't violate the sanction, but Citibank flagged it as suspicious activity. and subsequently found dozens of other payments with that same suspicious memo line.

Three Congressional committees are conducting investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential vote.

"How could we not investigate a suspicious financial transaction that contained a memo that said, 'finance election campaign 2016?' Given the climate and what was in that memo line it would be very irresponsible for us not to investigate".

What is clear is that the money from the wire transfers made its way to Russian embassies in nearly 60 countries between August and September 2016, the months leading up to the USA presidential election.

That Russia meddled in the 2016 USA presidential election has been known for some time now (the intelligence community published its official assessment on Russian activities in the election in January 2017).

Former intelligence officials have recently expressed worry that the president is being manipulated by Putin, with former CIA Director John Brennan and ex-National Intelligence Director James Clapper both saying Trump has mishandled Moscow's ties to the election. "It's a good lead".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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