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60 Russian Payments Were Sent Globally 'To Finance Election Campaign Of 2016'

The FBI is investigating a series of 60 Russian payments that were sent to Russian embassies globally. (photo credit: The Kremlin / Public Domain)

The FBI is investigating a series of 60 Russian payments that were sent to Russian embassies globally. The purpose of these payments? In the words of the Russians, it was 'To Finance Election Campaign Of 2016'. The FBI was made aware of these payments two months ago.

There are two central questions for the FBI solve about these payments: 1) which 2016 election (U.S. or otherwise) was the money used for? 2) If it was used for the U.S. election, how was the money spent?

On Aug. 3 of last year, just as the US presidential election was entering its final, heated phase, 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 a remarkable memo line: “to finance election campaign of 2016.”

The total amount was for $380,000. All of the money was sent to Citibank accounts.

That wire transfer is one of more than 60 now being scrutinized by the FBI and other federal agencies investigating Russian involvement in the US election. The transactions, which moved through Citibank accounts and totaled more than $380,000, each came from the Russian foreign ministry and most contained a memo line referencing the financing of the 2016 election.

It's unclear which election that the Russians were financing. There were seven other elections occurring in the same period, even a Russian one.

Much as checks include a memo line, wire transfers often include a note that states what the money is for. The note on this set of transfers does not indicate what election the money was to be used for, or even the country. Seven nations had federal elections during the span when the funds were sent — including the Duma, Russia’s lower house of Parliament, on Sept. 18, 2016. Russian embassies and diplomatic compounds opened polling stations for voters living abroad.

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