The FBI and other federal agencies looking into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 elections are investigating dozens of wire transfers by Russia to their foreign embassies around the globe, many of which were earmarked “to finance election campaign of 2016.”
One of those transfers worth $30,000 came into the U.S. in August of last year.
A report by Buzzfeed, which broke the news of the transfers, said it’s unclear how any of that money was spent.
More than 60 of these transfers with a similar memo line also went out to countries such as Afghanistan and Nigeria in August and September of 2016 and totaled over $380,000.
Citibank discovered the $30,000 transfer to the Russian foreign ministry in the U.S. with the curious memo line and launched a review of other transfers by the ministry. “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,” the report also noted.
The FBI first became aware of the transactions in September 2016.
“We had an election and the intelligence community concluded Russia interfered in it,” an FBI agent anonymously told Buzzfeed. “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.”