FBI Investigating Russian Payments Intended "To Finance 2016 Election"

A day after the Atlantic revealed that Donald Trump Jr. exchanged direct messages with somebody (possibly Julian Assange) running Wikileaks’ Twitter account, Buzzfeed has published another ostensibly tantalizing piece of news that, like yesterday’s Trump Jr. non-story, fails to deliver on its headline’s lofty promise.

According to Buzzfeed, on Aug. 3 of last year, just as the US presidential election was entering its final months, the Russian foreign ministry sent nearly $30,000 to its embassy in Washington. The wire transfer, which came from a Kremlin-backed Russian bank, landed in one of the embassy’s Citibank accounts and contained the memo line: “To finance election campaign of 2016.”

As it turns out, that transfer was one of 60 sent to Russian embassies around the world. The transactions, which moved through Citibank accounts and totaled more than $380,000, each came from the Russian foreign ministry. And at least one of the transactions that made its way into the US originated with Kremlin-owned VTB Bank, which has been under US sanctions since 2014.

After discovering the $30,000 transfer to the embassy in Washington, Citibank launched a review of other transfers by the Russian foreign ministry. It unearthed dozens of other transactions with similar memo lines. Compliance officers in Citibank’s Global Intelligence Unit flagged them as suspicious, noting that it was unable to determine the financial, business, or legal purpose of the transactions. It soon unearthed dozens of other similar transactions.

All financial institutions are required to tell FinCEN about any transactions they deem suspicious. However, such “suspicious activity reports” do not necessarily prove or even indicate wrongdoing. Federal law also requires financial institutions to file reports on any cash transactions of more than $10,000 in a single day, even if those transactions are legitimate. Banks must also file the reports whenever they suspect money laundering or other financial crimes.

Records of the transactions were turned over to Congressional investigators by Citibank, part of materials including more than 650 suspicious transactions between November 2013 and March 2017 totaling about $2.9 million. That money was sent to four Russian accounts operating in the US: the embassy; the Office of Defense, Military, Air and Naval Attaches; and Russian cultural centers in Washington and New York City.

The FBI was first made aware of the suspicious transactions at the end of September.  One FBI special agent told Buzzfeed that even if there is a logical explanation for the suspicious wire transactions, the FBI still has to investigate what the money was used for.

“We had an election and the intelligence community concluded Russia interfered in it,” said the FBI agent.


“How could we not investigate a suspicious financial transaction that contained a memo that said, ‘finance election campaign 2016?’ Given the climate and what was in that memo line it would be very irresponsible for us not to investigate. It’s a good lead.”

Thanks for clearing that up...

Two FBI sources said that FBI legal attaches in other countries are now investigating whether the money may have been used for the US presidential election and, if so, how.

However, there’s no conclusive evidence that this money was used to run interference in the US election.


land_of_the_few 07564111 Wed, 11/15/2017 - 01:22 Permalink

As you imply, the payments were on Aug 3 2016, and the RU elections were on 18 Sep 2016. Timng seems spot-on, about when a normal efficient office person would do it, to make sure it would go through between wildly different banks in different countries and still make it on time to be useful.Something to do with them needing to get voting organised for RU citizens abroad, costs money, apparently...Darned cunning of the Russians to say exactly what the cash was for, instead of "office supplies", "consultants", "massive amounts of coffee and Danish pastries" or "epic amounts of dry-cleaning" :DAnd of course no other country apart from the USA has elections, and the maps shows "Here Be Dragons" once you get offshore from the Eastern Seaboard :P

In reply to by 07564111

GUS100CORRINA WTFRLY Tue, 11/14/2017 - 18:09 Permalink

FBI Investigating Russian Payments Intended "To Finance 2016 Election"My response: Why has it taken so long to begin this process???Washington DC is CORRUPT to the CORE!!!! The injustice in America is maddening!!!!FOLLOW THE MONEY HONEY AND THE TRUTH WILL AUTOMATICALLY PRESENT ITSELF.Clinton Crime Syndicate Operatives and Obama's merry band of despots have the hands all over these transactions.

In reply to by WTFRLY

lester1 Tue, 11/14/2017 - 17:33 Permalink

The one thing I'm seriously pissed off at Trump about is not doing Mass firings of these corrupt Obama appointees at the FBI and DoJ. These people are seriously corrupt and are trying to fuck him. They also are covering up that Las Vegas shooting which was done by ISIS/ antifa inspired liberal. 

lester1 Tue, 11/14/2017 - 17:37 Permalink

I seriously don't believe anything coming out of that corrupt FBI. There's an army of Obama appointees still there who are extremely corrupt and dishonest. I bet they are trying to manufacture something on Trump and his people. It's like we live in the Soviet Union in 1927 when Joseph Stalin would just make up bulshit crimes against his political enemies.

Ajax-1 Chupacabra-322 Tue, 11/14/2017 - 19:46 Permalink

Have you ever noticed that whenever Congress drafts an Act of legislation, it is often the opposite of it's namesake. The misleading title is far from what their names suggest.For example:"The Bank Secrecy Act" should actually be called "The Bank Blabbermouth Act", which allows financial institutions to inform on their customers."The Patriot Act" should be called "The Un-patriotic Act", which diminishes your 4th Ammendment protections."The Right to Work Act" should be called "The Right to Work... for poverty wages until your boss hires an illegal alien to work for less... Act"

In reply to by Chupacabra-322