The U.S. Department of Treasury on Thursday sanctioned three Russian nationals and one Ukrainian politician with ties to the president’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani for attempting to influence the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Andrii Derkach, a pro-Russian member of the Ukrainian Parliament, saying that he’s been an active Russian agent with close ties to the Kremlin for over a decade.
“Derkach has directly or indirectly engaged in, sponsored, concealed, or otherwise been complicit in foreign interference in an attempt to undermine the upcoming 2020 U.S. presidential election,” read the statement from Treasury. “Today’s designation of Derkach is focused on exposing Russian malign influence campaigns and protecting our upcoming elections from foreign interference. This action is a clear signal to Moscow and its proxies that this activity will not be tolerated.”
Derkach, who was once dubbed the “Ukrainian Putin,” assisted Giuliani last year in drafting a counter-report aimed at discrediting the investigation of former special counsel Robert Mueller. Derkach provided Giuliani with “flagrantly inaccurate information” that reached the highest levels of the U.S. government.
The son of a KGB officer, Derkach released a series of edited audio recordings earlier this year that he claimed revealed corrupt conversations between Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and Ukraine’s former president Petro Poroshenko.
“Andrii Derkach and other Russian agents employ manipulation and deceit to attempt to influence elections in the United States and elsewhere around the world,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday. “The United States will continue to use all the tools at its disposal to counter these Russian disinformation campaigns and uphold the integrity of our election system.”
Russian nationals Artem Lifshits, Anton Andreyev, and Darya Aslanova, all of whom were apparently employed by the Russian troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency (IRA), were also designated for supporting the organization’s cryptocurrency accounts. According to Treasury, the IRA uses a series of cryptocurrencies to fund its election meddling efforts “in furtherance of their ongoing malign influence operations around the world.”
Following the announcement of the sanctions, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) responded by maligning Senate Republicans’ ongoing investigation into Hunter Biden, saying it’s based in part on misinformation spread by Derkach.
“White Democrats are pushing for more aggressive action against Russian assets interfering in our elections, Republicans are using their conspiracy theories to advance bogus investigations,” Wyden said. “Senate investigations should not parrot conspiracy theories pushed by Russian agents under U.S. sanctions, and Senate Republicans should immediately abandon this blatantly political effort.”
[image via YouTube screengrab]
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