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    US Treasury Adviser Charged With Leaking Info on Detained Russian Citizen Butina

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, a senior adviser at the US Department of the Treasury, has been charged with illegally disclosing to the media suspicious activity reports (SARs) pertaining to the detained Russian national Mariia Butina, according to a court document released on Wednesday.

    "Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards… knowingly disclosed and described SARs, which she obtained by virtue of her position as a Senior Adviser at the United States Treasury Department," the document filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York said.

    Edwards leaked to the media SARs pertaining to detained Russian national Mariia Butina and the company Prevezon Alexander. which the US authorities suspect of money laundering, according to the court document.

    READ MORE: Russians in US Face Prejudice From Bosses, Friends After Butina Arrest — Reports

    The article about Butina — "Russian ‘Agent’ and GOP Operator Left a Trail of Cash, Documents Reveal" — published on July 31 — "detailed a number of financial transactions derived from bank records allegedly involving a political consultant and Butina," the court document said.

    Information published in the second article in August — "Why the FBI and Mueller Are Investigating 'Suspicious' Transactions Made by Russian Diplomats" — was also obtained from SARs, the court document added.

    Edwards also unlawfully shared with reporters information about former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his ex-partner Rick Gates, both convicted as part of the FBI's probe into Russia's alleged involvement in the 2016 US presidential election. Edwards released reports to 12 media networks, including the online news organization Buzzfeed, which then published articles referring to transaction records from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

    Butina, a recent student and a political activist, was arrested in Washington, DC in mid-July on suspicions of acting as an agent for a foreign government. She has denied the accusations. Butina currently faces up to 15 years in jail.

    READ MORE: US Jail Transfers Russian National Butina to Minimum Security Regime

    Russia has repeatedly denied interfering in the US election, saying the allegations were made up to excuse the election loss of a presidential candidate as well as deflect public opinion from actual instances of election fraud and corruption. Trump, in turn, has characterized the investigation as a witch hunt and has pointed out that no evidence of his collusion with Moscow has been provided in well over a year.


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