19:33 GMT +316 October 2019
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    In this photo taken on Sunday, April 21, 2013, Maria Butina, leader of a pro-gun organization in Russia, speaks to a crowd during a rally in support of legalizing the possession of handguns in Moscow, Russia

    Organizer: Butina Attended Meeting With Officials at Invitation as Interpreter

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Detained Russian citizen Maria Butina participated in a meeting with high-ranking US officials at the invitation of then-deputy governor of Russia’s Central Bank Alexander Torshin, Center for the National Interest Executive Director Paul Saunders told Sputnik on Monday.

    In 2015, the US think tank organized meetings between Torshin and then-Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer and Treasury Undersecretary for International Affairs Nathan Sheets.

    "The Center for the National Interest did not arrange any meetings for Maria Butina. We facilitated meetings for Alexander Torshin, in his capacity as a vice chairman of Russia’s Central Bank. It was his decision that Maria Butina would accompany him as an interpreter," Saunders said.

    He explained that the think tank helped facilitate the meetings because Torshin was a speaker at their seminar on Russia’s banking sector.

    A State Department official responsible for US-Russia relations also spoke at that event, Saunders noted.

    READ MORE: US Senator Seeks Testimony From NRA Over Russian National Butina

    On July 15 US authorities arrested Butina on charges of acting as a foreign agent for the Russian government. She denies the accusation.

    Butina has been denied bail and remains in custody for allegedly being a flight risk. If convicted, she faces up to 15 years in jail.


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