Woman arrested, charged with acting as Russian agent in US

Elias Hubbard
July 17, 2018

Butina and Torshin have close ties to the NRA, which is not named in the criminal complaint or supporting affidavit but is referred to as a "Gun Rights Organization".

The charges are not related to the Mueller probe that is examining alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

She allegedly worked at the direction of a high-level Kremlin official.

Butina, 29, was arrested on Sunday and appeared before a magistrate in Washington on Monday, according to the United States justice department.

Maria Butina, 29, was arrested on Sunday in Washington, DC, but her indictment was sealed, being revealed after President Donald Trump's Helsinki summit with Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin.

"We could give them the benefit of the doubt and say this is just a natural interest and affinity; this guy Torshin and this woman Butina are just gun aficionados", Polyakova noted.

Butina and Torshin both ran The Right To Bear Arms, a group that fashioned itself as a Russian version of the NRA and supported handgun legalization in their home country.

Ms Butina, originally from Siberia, founded a group called the Right to Bear Arms before coming to the USA to study at American University. She was charged with conspiracy to act as an unregistered agent of the Russian government.

According to prosecutors, Butina met an American political operative in Moscow in 2013, after which the operative worked with her to arrange introductions to Americans with influence in US politics, including the gun rights organization NRA.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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