Mueller Investigation Indictments

Liam Toomey, Reporter

Robert Mueller’s team handed out an indictment of three Russian corporations and 13 Russian nationals with multiple counts of conspiracy of defrauding the US, committing wire fraud, and identity theft. The document reveals the breadth of the what the investigation knows about Russia’s systematic interference in the American political atmosphere since 2014.

The first count charges all defendants with Conspiracy to Defraud the United States. The second count is Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud and Bank Fraud. The third through eighth are counts of aggravated Identity Theft.

The three corporations named are Internet Research Agency LLC (IRA), Concord Management and Consulting LLC and Concord Catering, collectively referred to as Concord.

IRA was the primary organization that ran the interference campaign. It received its funding from the Russian government via the Russian government contractor Concord. Concord is operated by Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin, a top Russian oligarch. Prigozhin regularly met with the top members of IRA.

Concord moved the funds through 14 bank accounts owned by various Concord affiliates. The payments were hidden by being filed as “software support and development.”

IRA was first registered as an LLC in Russia in 2013. The IRA offices were located in St. Petersburg becoming the operational hub of the project. IRA had hundreds of employees with a budget counted as 1.25 million dollars in 2016.

This large organization had the self-proclaimed goal of conducting “information warfare against the United States of America.” To that end, a division of 80 employees was created with various names including “Translation Project.”

“Translation Project” was the social media arm of IRA; almost all the interference described in the indictment came from this division.

In 2014, IRA began to study American political organizations on social media. It sent two members, Aleksandra Yuryevna Krylova and Anna Vladislavovna Bogacheva, to the US, lying on their visa application when obtaining them.

Through June 4-14, 2016 the two traveled throughout the US. Another unnamed member visited under false pretenses again to Atlanta, Georgia to purchase American computer severs to hide the Russian source of the IRA accounts.

By 2016, “Translation Project” was using specific content created by Vadim Vladimirovich Pokopaev for various fake American social media accounts the IRA operated. Gleb Igorevich Vasilchenko oversaw posting, updating, and monitoring the social media content and acting as American political grassroot movements. Two others in the indictment maintained more fake American social media accounts.

The content spread “derogatory information” against Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio. More content was created in support of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

The social media efforts heavily promoted the accusations of democratic voter fraud. Near election day the content targeted minorities to encourage them to not to vote, or vote for a third-party candidate.

“Translation Project” both started and helped to organize political rallies around the US via their fraudulent social media accounts. They paid Americans for various political activities and to support or denounce political candidates.

IRA bought ad space for their social media accounts and sold ad space on their sites. They needed many financial accounts to conduct their transactions, and transfer these funds between Russia and the US.

Using stolen identities, they opened four bank accounts and five PayPal accounts; then acquired various credit cards, with the same stolen identities, to avoid the PayPal security.

Financial transactions continued on the fake accounts until March of 2017. The Special Counsel’s investigation began two months later in May.

The Russian agents broke dozens of federal laws to conduct their operation to sow political discontent on the scale that they did. Illegal political donations by foreign agents, failing to register as a foreign political agent, and obtaining a visa under false pretenses barely scratches the surface.

This kind of political interference is unprecedented in American politics. It presents the US with an existential crisis; whether American democratic institutions can counter this threat or not.


Indictment Full Text PDF