Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 16, 2018
Russian National Charged in Conspiracy to Act as an Agent of the Russian Federation Within the United States
A criminal complaint was unsealed today in the District of Columbia charging a Russian national with conspiracy to act
as an agent of the Russian Federation within the United States without prior notification to the Attorney General.
The announcement was made by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney for the
District of Columbia Jessie K. Liu, and Nancy McNamara, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field
Maria Butina, 29, a Russian citizen residing in Washington D.C., was arrested on July 15, 2018, in Washington, D.C., and
made her initial appearance this afternoon before Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson in the U.S. District Court for
the District of Columbia. She was ordered held pending a hearing set for July 18, 2018.
According to the affidavit in support of the complaint, from as early as 2015 and continuing through at least February
2017, Butina worked at the direction of a high-level official in the Russian government who was previously a member of
the legislature of the Russian Federation and later became a top official at the Russian Central Bank. This Russian
official was sanctioned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control in April 2018.
The court filings detail the Russian official’s and Butina’s efforts for Butina to act as an agent of Russia inside the
United States by developing relationships with U.S. persons and infiltrating organizations having influence in American
politics, for the purpose of advancing the interests of the Russian Federation. The filings also describe certain
actions taken by Butina to further this effort during multiple visits from Russia and, later, when she entered and
resided in the United States on a student visa. The filings allege that she undertook her activities without officially
disclosing the fact that she was acting as an agent of Russian government, as required by law.
The charges in criminal complaints are merely allegations and every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until
proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The maximum penalty for conspiracy is five years. The maximum statutory
sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes. If convicted of any offense, a
defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court based on the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other
The investigation into this matter was conducted by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. The case is being prosecuted by
the National Security Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the National Security
Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
National Security Division (NSD)
USAO - District of Columbia