12:45 GMT28 February 2021
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    Olesya Krasilova, an employee of the All-Russian Center for Plants Quarantine, an agency of the country's agriculture watchdog, was arrested in Spain in mid-February, possibly following a request by the US, according to the foreign ministry.

    The US Justice Department on Friday charged a Russian-native former employee of the US Embassy in Moscow with conspiracy to steal records and defraud the refugee program, according to a press release.

    "The indictment charges… Olesya Leonidovna Krasilova, 43, with conspiracy to steal US government records and to defraud the United States, theft of US government records, and conspiracy to launder money, all related to the US Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP)," the release said on Friday.

    Krasilova has not been apprehended and is in fact a Russian citizen, the indictment states.

    The charges unsealed on Friday "demonstrate the commitment of the US Attorney’s Office to protect the integrity of critical government functions like the US Refugee Admissions Program", which, according to the document, exists "to identify and admit qualified refugees for resettlement in the United States".

    "It is important to hold accountable those who would seek to defraud such programs, particularly when the crimes compromise our national security and public safety, when they impose such high costs on taxpayers, and when they negatively impact the prospects of qualified refugee applicants", Acting US Attorney Michael R. Sherwin for the District of Columbia said as quoted in the indictment.

    Krasilova was in Spain for a short business trip and was detained on the Tenerife island.

    In March, Russian FM spokeswoman Maria Zakharova strongly condemned Krasilova's detention, saying it was yet "another example of the US hunting for Russians all across the globe."

    "The detention of #Russian national Olesya Krasilova is yet another example of the #US hunting for #Russians all across the globe. We have strongly demanded that the US authorities withdraw the #extradition request", the statement read.

    As mentioned in the press release, the US Department of Justice also charged Aws Muwafaq Abduljabbar and Haitham Isa Saado Sad, who were employed by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services in Amman, Jordan.

    Under US law, the maximum sentence for conspiracy to commit a crime or defrauding the US government is five years. The maximum penalty for the theft of government records is 10 years, and the maximum penalty is 20 years for conspiracy to launder money.


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    Conspiracy, US Department of Justice, Department of Justice, Russians, Russia, US Embassy in Russia, US Embassy, charges, USA, US
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