Man charged with lying about Bidens had Russian intelligence contacts, prosecutors say – NBC Bay Area


A former FBI informant charged with making up a multimillion-dollar bribery scheme involving President Joe Biden, his son Hunter and a Ukrainian vitality firm had contacts with Russian intelligence-affiliated officers, prosecutors mentioned in a court docket paper Tuesday.

Prosecutors revealed the alleged contact as they urged a choose to maintain Alexander Smirnov behind bars whereas he awaits trial. He’s accused of falsely telling his handler that executives with the Ukrainian vitality firm Burisma paid Hunter and Joe Biden $5 million every round 2015. The declare grew to become central to the Republican impeachment inquiry in Congress.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel Albregts allowed Smirnov to be launched from custody on digital GPS monitoring whereas he awaits trial. He should keep in Clark County, Nevada, and is prohibited from making use of for a brand new passport.

Prosecutors mentioned Smirnov, 43, admitted throughout an interview after his arrest final week that “officials associated with Russian intelligence were involved in passing a story” about Hunter Biden. They mentioned Smirnov’s contacts with Russian officers have been latest and in depth, and mentioned Smirnov had deliberate to satisfy with one official throughout an upcoming abroad journey.

Hunter Biden made a shock look on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, briefly sitting in on a House committee listening to over a decision to carry him in contempt of Congress.

Smirnov has been in custody at a facility in rural Pahrump, about an hour’s drive west of Las Vegas, since his arrest final week on the airport whereas getting back from abroad.

Defense attorneys David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld mentioned in a press release they requested for Smirnov’s launch whereas he awaits trial “so he can effectively fight the power of the government.”

The White House didn’t instantly touch upon the claims in Tuesday’s court docket submitting.

Prosecutors say Smirnov, who holds twin U.S.-Israeli citizenship, falsely reported to the FBI in June 2020 that executives related with the Ukrainian vitality firm Burisma paid Hunter and Joe Biden $5 million every in 2015 or 2016.

Smirnov actually had solely routine enterprise dealings with the corporate beginning in 2017 and made the bribery allegations after he “expressed bias” in opposition to Joe Biden whereas he was a presidential candidate, prosecutors mentioned in court docket paperwork. He is charged with making a false assertion and making a false and fictitious document. The fees have been filed in Los Angeles, the place he lived for 16 years earlier than relocating to Las Vegas two years in the past.

Smirnov’s claims have been central to the Republican effort in Congress to analyze the president and his household, and helped spark what’s now a House impeachment inquiry into Biden. Democrats referred to as for an finish to the probe after the indictment got here down final week, whereas Republicans distanced the inquiry from Smirnov’s claims and mentioned they’d proceed to “follow the facts.”

Hunter Biden is predicted to provide a deposition subsequent week.

The Burisma allegations grew to become a flashpoint in Congress as Republicans pursuing investigations of President Biden and his household demanded the FBI launch the unredacted type documenting the allegations. They acknowledged they couldn’t affirm if the allegations have been true.


Whitehurst reported from Washington. Associated Press author Alanna Durkin Richer in Boston contributed to this report.

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