Russian charged with conspiring to interfere in U.S. elections

Using social media and other avenues, the conspiracy participants waged "information warfare against the United States," attempting to sow distrust of candidates for US political office.

By REUTERS
October 19, 2018 23:37
2 minute read.
new york primaries

Voting booths are seen during the New York primary elections at a polling station in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, US, April 19, 2016. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

NEW YORK - The US government on Friday charged a Russian national with playing a key financial role in a Kremlin-backed plan to conduct "information warfare" against the United States, including influencing next month's congressional elections.

Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova, 44, becomes the first person indicted for attempting to interfere in the 2018 US elections, according to a government official with knowledge of the investigation.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


The complaint said Khusyaynova was the chief accountant for Project Lakhta, an operation started in 2014 and funded by Russian oligarch Evgeny Viktorovich Prigozhin and two companies he controls, Concord Management and Consulting LLC and Concord Catering.

Using social media and other avenues, the conspiracy participants waged "information warfare against the United States," attempting to sow distrust of candidates for US political office and the US political system, according to the complaint.

Prigozhin and the two companies were named in February in indictments from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's separate investigation of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election to boost eventual winner Donald Trump over his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

The Khusyaynova case is not being handled by Mueller because it includes activities related to the 2018 elections, which are not part of his remit, the government official said.

The case against Khusyaynova was unsealed in Alexandria, Virginia, on the same day that US law enforcement and intelligence agencies issued a statement expressing concerns about attempts by Russia, China, Iran and other foreign groups to interfere with Nov. 6 congressional elections, in which Trump's Republicans are trying to maintain majority power in Congress, and national elections in 2020.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


That statement was coordinated to coincide with the criminal complaint against Khusyaynova, a second US official familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity.

The complaint says that in June Khusyaynova submitted to Concord a monthly budget of 114 million Russian rubles, including expenditures for advertisements on Facebook and to pay for "development accounts" on Twitter.

The complaint says it did find any evidence that Khusyaynova or anyone else involved in the conspiracy had any impact on the outcome of any US election.

Khusyaynova is a resident of St. Petersburg, Russia, and is not in US custody.

The complaint indicates that Russia's campaign to sow discord in the United States continued even after Mueller's indictments in February that named Prigozhin, Concord Management and Concord Catering among three entities and 13 Russian individuals.

Prigozhin has been dubbed "Putin's cook" by Russian media because his catering business has organized banquets for Russian President Vladimir Putin and other senior political figures. He has been hit with sanctions by the US government.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Justice Department, FBI and Department of Homeland Security issued a joint statement on Friday saying they did not have any evidence that anyone went far enough to prevent voting or change vote counts. Some state and local governments, which run polling sites, have reported attempts to access their networks, but officials were able to "prevent access or quickly mitigate these attempts," the statement said.

In July, Mueller's office also indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers who were accused of hacking Democratic computer networks as part of Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

November 15, 2018
U.S. likely to reduce troop deployment at Mexico border

By REUTERS