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Elena Khusyaynova charged with conspiring to interfere in 2018 midterms

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The Kremlin is pictured
above in Moscow on March 7, 2017.


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  • The Department of Justice announced on Friday that it has
    charged a Russian woman with conspiring to interfere in the 2018
    US midterms.
  • The woman, Elena Khusyaynova, is accused of playing a central
    financial role in a social media influence operation known as
    “Project Lakhta” that prosecutors say “continues to this day.”
  • The project is allegedly bankrolled by the Russian
    businessman Yevgeniy Prigozhin and two companies he controls.
  • Prigozhin is a close associate of Russian President Vladimir
    Putin, and he and his companies were charged earlier this year
    along with 13 other Russian nationals and entities with
    conspiring to meddle in the 2016 race.

The Justice Department announced on Friday that it has filed
charges against a Russian national accused of conspiring to
interfere in the November 2018 US midterm elections.

The woman, Elena Khusyaynova, was charged with conspiracy to
defraud the US. Prosecutors say Khusyaynova is from St.
Petersburg — the Russian city where the Internet Research Agency
is headquartered — and is the chief accountant for an influence
operation known as “Project Lakhta.”

The DOJ described the operation as “a Russian umbrella effort
funded by Russian oligarch Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin and two
companies he controls, Concord Management and Consulting LLC, and
Concord Catering.”

Prigozhin and his two companies were charged earlier this year
along with 13 other Russian nationals and entities with
conspiring to interfere in the 2016 US election. Prigozhin is a
close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom US
intelligence agencies say personally ordered the Russian effort
to meddle in the 2016 race.

According to prosecutors, Project Lakhta was involved in creating
thousands of email and social media accounts to conduct
“information warfare against the United States.”

As the woman charge of the operation’s finances, the DOJ said she
played a critical role in the effort, which allegedly had a
budget of more than $35 million and “continues to this day.”

Prosecutors added that the financial documents Khusyaynova
controlled “include detailed expenses for activities in the
United States, such as expenditures for activists, advertisements
on social media platforms, registration of domain names, the
purchase of proxy servers, and promoting news postings on social
network.”

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