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US charges Russian with plotting to interfere in US congressional elections

Muslim Times(Web Desk) – The US government has charged a Russian national with plotting to wage “information warfare” against the United States, which includes influencing next month’s congressional elections.

Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova was charged in Alexandria, Virginia with playing a major financial role in what the US claimed is a Kremlin-backed plan, according to a government official with knowledge of the matter.

Khusyaynova, 44, is the first individual to be indicted for allegedly attempting to interfere in the Nov. 6 elections.

The criminal complaint said Khusyaynova was the chief accountant for Project Lakhta, which was funded by Russian oligarch Evgeny Viktorovich Prigozhin and two companies – Concord Management and Consulting LLC and Concord Catering- which work under Prigozhin’s control.

Through using social media and other avenues, the participants waged “information warfare against the United States” in a bid to sow distrust of candidates for US political office and the US political system, the complaint added.

According to the complaint, Khusyaynova submitted to Concord a monthly budget of 114 million Russian rubles in June, which included expenditures for advertisements on Facebook as well as “development accounts” on Twitter.

The complaint said, however, it did find any evidence to show that Khusyaynova or anyone else involved in the alleged conspiracy had any effect on the outcome of any US election.

Meanwhile, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Justice Department, FBI and Department of Homeland Security issued a joint statement Friday, saying there was no evidence that anyone went far enough to preclude voting or change vote counts.

Prigozhin and the two companies were among the three entities and 12 Russian individuals mentioned in February in indictments from a separate investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election. Russia has vehemently denied the accusation.

The Khusyaynova case is not being handled by Mueller because it includes activities pertaining to the 2018 elections, which are not part of his remit, according to the government official.

Khusyaynova currently lives in St. Petersburg, Russia, and is not in US custody.

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