Washington DC –
There are 13 Russian nationals charged with interfering with the US presidential election. One of them is known as a Russian businessman named Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin known as the close man of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In the indictment drafted by Robert Mueller's special prosecutor, it was mentioned that Prigozhin used some of his companies to fund the 2016 presidential intervention operation. Prigozhin has been dubbed the 'Putin chef' by Russian media.
As quoted from the published indictment document CNN Saturday (17/2/2017), there are 13 individuals and three Russian companies who are accused in allegedly interfering in the political process and the US presidential election. The three companies are all located in Russia, namely Internet Research Agency (IRA), Concord Management and Consulting and Concord Catering .
Whereas 13 indicted individuals consisting of Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin, Mikhail Ivanovich Bystrov, Mikhail Leonidovich Burchik aka Mikhail Abramov, Aleksandra Yuryevna Krylova, Anna Vladislavovna Bogacheva, Sergey Pavlovich Polozov, Maria Anatolyevna Bovda aka Maria Anatolyevna Belyaeva, Robert Sergeyevich Bovda, Dzheykhun Nasimi Ogly Aslanov aka Jayhoon Aslanov aka Jay Aslanov, Vadim Vladimirovich Podkopaev, Gleb Igorevich Vasilchenko, Irina Viktorovna Kaverzina and Vladimir Venkov.
The indictment referred to the IRA as a Russian organization involved in election intervention and political process operations. Concord Management and Consulting Concord Catering is a company owned by Prigozhin.
"From or about 2014 up to now, defendants know and deliberately conspire with each other to deceive the United States by disrupting, obstructing and avoiding the functioning of government law through deception and lies for the purpose of interfering in political and election processes of the US, including presidential election 2016, "the indictment read.
Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin (left) with Vladimir Putin in photos of 2011 Photo: REUTERS / Misha Japaridze / Pool / File Photo
A total of 12 other names , in addition to Prigozhin, is called working for the IRA. Some are serving as IRA's General Director, IRA Executive Director, to IRA analysis and staff in charge of posting, monitoring and updating social media content on IRA-controlled accounts. Through this account, IRA teams disguised themselves as US citizens or organizations, after stealing their identities.
Various IRA activities, one of which interfere with the US presidential election, was financed by a company owned by Prigozhin. It was mentioned in the indictment that around September 2016, the IRA's monthly budget included for a US election intervention operation exceeding 73 million rubles of Russia, or equivalent to Rp 17.6 billion.
According to the indictment, 13 defendants were each charged with a conspiracy commit fraud against US. Then three defendants among them, including the IRA, were charged with conspiring to wire fraud and bank fraud. Five defendants, including the IRA, are also charged with identity theft of US citizens.
Wire fraud is a financial fraud using telecommunications or information technology, while bank fraud is a fraud by means of (19459008) Prigozhin has been under US economic sanctions since December 2016, for 'financially helping' senior Russian officials and engaging in 'massive business deals' with the Ministry of Defense Russia. He has a catering company that is widely used in events at the Kremlin. He has denied linked to the IRA.
"Americans are very easily influenced, they see what they want to see, I have great respect for them I am not angry because I am on the list (indictment) If they want to see the devil, let them see it , "he said to the Russian news agency, RIA Novosti .
(nvc / rna)