Russian Maria Butina, whom Washington suspects working for Russian special services as an unregistered agent, received financial support from Russian billionaire Konstantin Nikolayev. This was told by Butina herself, speaking to the US Senate Intelligence Committee, reports The Washington Post (WP) referring to the senators who were present during the interrogation by Butina.
As the interlocutors of the newspaper reported, Butina told American lawmakers that Nikolayev provided financial support to the Russian organization "The Right to Arms", whose board member she is and as a representative of which she attended a prayer breakfast with the participation of the US President in February 2017.
The representative of Nikolaev confirmed to the WP that the entrepreneur contacted Butina from 2012 to 2014, when she started the work of this organization, but refused to comment on the provision of financial assistance. According to him, Nikolayev is also personally not familiar with US President Donald Trump.
According to sources from the WP, the son of Nikolayev Andrey, who studied in the US, was a volunteer who worked for Trump's headquarters in 2016. He was also seen at the Trump Hotel in Washington on the eve of the inauguration of the US president, two more sources told WP.
In court, where the case of Butina's arrest was heard, representatives of the Ministry of Justice reported that a billionaire was a sponsor of her activity - "a well-known Russian businessman who has deep ties with the administration of the Russian president," points out WP.
His name was not disclosed, however, the prosecutor's office indicated that he often traveled to the United States and was listed on the Forbes list with a fortune of $ 1.2 billion. The publication also indicates that the data on the value of Nikolayev's assets according to Forbes estimate coincide with the amount called by prosecutors in court .
Butina is accused of participating in a conspiracy to conduct activities in favor of a foreign state in the United States, as well as conducting such activities without proper registration with the US Justice Department. She was detained on July 16, two days later Butina was arrested by the court.
Moscow accusations against Butina denied. The Russian Embassy asked Washington for clarification about her arrest, and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov demanded to release the Russian woman during a telephone conversation with the head of the State Department, Mike Pompeo.
Konstantin Nikolayev - co-owner of one of the largest railway companies in Russia Globaltrans. He is also one of the co-founders of the Moscow School of Management Skolkovo.
In the US, Nikolaev has business interests: he is on the board of directors of American Ethane and invests in start-ups in the Silicon Valley.
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