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    Russian student Maria Butina was arrested on July 16 over allegations she failed to register as a foreign agent.

    US Justice Dep't Claims Butina Was in Contact With Russian Intel Officers - Docs

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    Moscow slammed the arrest of Maria Butina, a longtime advocate of gun rights in Russia, saying that the US was "hunting" for Russian citizens abroad.

    The US Attorney for the District of Columbia on Wednesday filed in district court a memorandum in support of the pretrial detention of Russian citizen Maria Butina, who was earlier detained in the US, since she poses she poses an "extreme risk of flight."

    "Because Butina has been exposed as an illegal agent of Russia, there is the grave risk that she will appeal to those within that government with whom she conspired to aid her escape from the United States," the memorandum said.

    "The FBI has uncovered evidence during the course of executing several search warrants that, during the course of her deployment to the United States, Butina was in contact with officials believed to be Russian intelligence operatives," said a document filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia by US Attorney Jessie Liu.

    According to the document, the Justice Department alleged that the Russian activist exchanged messages with wealthy Russian businessmen to discuss the budget for her trip to the United States.

    READ MORE: Butina's Arrest Is Nonsense: Many US Citizens Lobby in Russia — Analyst

    The court document said that charges against Butina may lead to 15 years in prison.

    Maria Butina, a longtime advocate of gun rights in Russia and a recent graduate of DC's American University, where she studied international relations, is believed to have worked with the US National Rifle Association (NRA).

    The US government announced on Monday that Maria Butina had been accused of conspiring to act as a foreign agent for Russia. Butina is seen by US authorities as having materially acted as a foreign agent in addition to conspiring to be one.

    In its turn, the Russian Embassy in the US called on authorities to allow consular access to Butina.

    The Russian ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, said that the Russian Embassy was taking every possible step to solve the problem of Maria Butina's detention in the US as soon as possible.

    Moscow is concerned about the detention of Russian citizen Maria Butina in the United States, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Wednesday.

    "In the media they immediately started talking about her as a spy, tried to link her to some special services … without even having any factual basis for this. … It seems that the US FBI, instead of dealing with its basic duties to combat crime, is carrying out a plain political order," Zakharova told.

    According to the indictment, from 2015 until at least February 2017, Butina worked "at the behest of a high-ranking official of the Russian government who used to be a member of the Russian parliament and then became a high-ranking representative in the Central Bank of Russia" and is currently under sanctions.


    Butina's Arrest Is Nonsense: Many US Citizens Lobby in Russia - Analyst
    Russian Activist Butina Also Charged With Acting as Agent of Foreign Government
    detention, Maria Butina, United States, Russia
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