Russian citizen detained in Washington may face up to 15 years in prison

19 July

Russian citizen detained in Washington may face up to 15 years in prison

Russian national Maria Butina detained in Washington on Monday may face up to 15 years in prison, says a memorandum by Jessie K. Liu, United States Attorney, available on the electronic database of the District Court for the District of Columbia.

The document says that Butina, detained on charges of espionage in favor of Russia, may face ten years of imprisonment for acting as an agent of the Government of the Russian Federation, and another five years for "her role in a covert Russian influence operation" in the United States.

The indictment published in the database of the US District Court for the District of Columbia earlier specifically said that Butina, who entered the US in August 2016 on a student visa, declared on her visa application that she had been previously employed as a special assistant to a Russian government official but employment ended in May 2016. The indictment claims further that in reality, however, "[…] Butina continued to act under the direction and control of the Russian official for the purpose of advancing interests of the Russian Federation after she entered the US."

According to the document, the ‘official’ in question, "whose identity is known to the grand jury", held a high-level position in the Russian government. Later on, he became "[…] a top official at the Russian Central Bank." In April 2018, he was put on the sanctions list of the Treasury Department.

The statement said Butina might face up to five years in jail but she would have the non-guilty status until her guilt is proved. It is expected that the judge will read out the indictment to Butina in the courtroom on Wednesday.



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