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Officials, scammers and billionaires: with whom is detained in the US Maria Butina

The media learned that in order to achieve their goals, she started an affair with one of them.

Reuters photo
Reuters photo

July 16 in the United States arrested a 29-year-old Russian citizen and head of the public organization “Right to Arms” Mary Butin. She was charged, including in an attempt to “penetrate into organizations that have influence on US policy.”

The media, citing sources, reported that in Russia and the US, Butina was linked to officials and billionaires who supported her.

Officials of the Federal Reserve System and the US Treasury

Stanley Fisher. Photo by WSJ
Stanley Fisher. Photo by WSJ

Sources Reuters learned that in April 2015, Butina met with Vice President of the Federal Reserve Chamber Stanley Fisher and Deputy Finance Minister Natan Sheets.

According to the agency, both meetings were held in the presence of former senator Alexander Torshin in January 2015, who took the post of deputy head of the Central Bank. Fisher confirmed the fact of the meeting, but did not remember the details. He said that the conversation concerned the state of the Russian economy and the appointment of Torshin as deputy chairman of the Central Bank. Shits declined to comment. Butina’s attorney Robert Driscoll did not give any details about her meetings with officials of the Federal Reserve and the US Treasury.

Nathan Sheets. Photos of Piie
Nathan Sheets. Photos of Piie

The meetings were organized by the non-governmental political science organization “Center for National Interests”, Reuters writes. They were documented in the organization’s report, which captured all activities related to Russia from 2013 to 2015. According to the description, the meetings were to “bring together the leading figures of the financial institutions of the United States and Russia.”

The head of the “Center for National Interests” Paul Saunders said that in April 2015, Torshin spoke at the event on the Russian banking system, and Butina acted as an interpreter.

We are not aware of any accusations or suspicions of unlawful or inappropriate connections with Russian intelligence.

Paul Saunders
head of the “Center for National Interests”

Paul Erickson – “American No. 1” and a fraudster

In court documents, 56-year-old Paul Erickson, an American political activist, had the call sign “American No. 1”. As The Wall Street Journal found out , he was tried several times for deceiving investors, whom he urged to invest in his dysfunctional companies. In total, Erickson and his company Compass Care owed $ 865,000 for a minimum of three court decisions.

This person is constantly lying. I am glad that I was able to bring to the public his fraud.

Michael Barnes
one of the victims of Erickson’s actions

Erickson had an “eclectic” career in the Republican Party. In the 1980s, he began collaborating with Jack Abramoff, who was later accused of fraud and corruption. From 2012 to 2014, Erickson was chairman of the American Conservative Union, but he was expelled there after the complaint of one of the victims in the fraud case.

According to Erickson’s acquaintances, his key contact was David Kiini, who headed the American Conservative Union from 1984 to 2011. Then he became president of the National Rifle Association of the United States. Kiini and the association did not respond to the requests of the publication.

Erickson first met Butina in 2013, when he accompanied Kiini to a conference on weapons in Moscow. Then Butina “tried to make a name for herself” as an activist, advocating for the free carrying of weapons in Russia. According to the indictment against Butina, in 2015 she and Erickson corresponded about her plans to put pressure on acquaintances in the shooting association to gain influence among Republicans.

Erickson also tried to build connections in the Republican Party to get closer to the Kremlin, court documents say. According to the letter pointed to by the prosecution, he “was involved in the protection of a very personal line of communication between the Kremlin” and one of the leaders of the Republican Party. Communication, as WSJ writes, passed through the shooting association.

Butina and Paul Erickson were in a romantic relationship at the time of the girl’s arrest. According to prosecutors, Butina used Erickson to promote the interests of the Kremlin, increasing its pressure in the rifle association and other organizations. The court documents say that the sexual relationship with Erikson was only “an essential part of the activity” of Butina, and that she secretly “expressed contempt” for cohabitation with him.

The Russian billionaire Konstantin Nikolaev

Photos Forbes
Photos Forbes

The links between Butina and the Russian businessman Konstantin Nikolayev were reported by The Washington Post. According to him, Butina allegedly told the US Senate that Nikolayev financed a group in support of the legalization of weapons.

In court, where the case of Butina’s arrest was heard, representatives of the Ministry of Justice reported that she was sponsored by a certain billionaire – “a well-known Russian businessman with deep connections with the administration of the Russian president.” The name of the businessman was not disclosed. According to the prosecutor’s office, he often travels to the US and was listed in the Forbes list with a fortune of $ 1.2 billion. Data on the value of Nikolayev’s assets, according to Forbes, coincide with the amount called by prosecutors in court.

Nikolayev’s press secretary confirmed the publication that he had maintained contact with Butina from 2012 to 2014, but did not answer the question about material support. In addition, he said that the relationship of a businessman with the Russian authorities can not be described as “deep.”

Konstantin Nikolayev is a co-owner of one of the largest railway companies in Russia Globaltrans. He is also listed as one of the founders of the Moscow School of Management Skolkovo. In the US, Nikolaev has business interests: he is a member of the directors of the American Ethane energy company, and also invests in start-ups in the Silicon Valley.

Alexander Torshin

Photo from Alexander Torshin's personal site
Photo from Alexander Torshin’s personal site

At the head of the “Right to Arms” Butina received support from various people and political forces, including at that time the deputy head of the Federation Council, Alexander Torshin. It is his journalists who are called “the main state ideologist of the legalization of short-barreled” and a possible participant in “collusion” with the activist.

In 2015, Torshin became deputy chairman of the Central Bank of Russia. “Medusa” wrote that he is known as a supporter of chemical castration of pedophiles and the right of Russians to wear short arms. In 2018, the US Treasury imposed sanctions against Torshin and several other officials and billionaires because of the “disproportionate actions” of the Russian government in favor of the oligarchs and elites.

According to the accusations, at least until February 2017, the activist worked in the interests of the “Russian high-ranking official,” whose name is not named. Under the description of this person (previously he was in the legislature, then he moved to the Central Bank and got under US sanctions), the current deputy chairman of the Central Bank, Alexander Torshin, falls. About this same wrote the American media. Butina for several years was an assistant to Torshin.

In 2016, Torshin stated that he and Butina were the only Russians who had lifelong membership in the National Rifle Association of the United States. According to the BBC, Butina, began to establish contacts with the organization in 2013 and hosted her delegation in Moscow. Since 2014, she, along with Torshin, participated in the activities of the NSA and its congresses.

According to the investigation, thanks to the support of Torshin, Butina was introduced to the NSA, and through her – to Trump’s entourage. The BBC claims that in May 2016 Butina and Torshin were at the NSA meeting, where Ericson tried to organize a meeting between Torshin and Trump. He called the Russians “emissary of President Putin,” but the meeting did not work out. However, the Russians were able to cross with Donald Trump, Jr..

As the newspaper Time wrote , Torshin tried to build relations between the Kremlin and the American conservatives. He was considered the patron of Butina. In his Twitter, he published many pictures of Butina, and also congratulated her on her birthday.

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