Federal Bureau of Investigation probing Russian wire transfers labeled 'to finance election campaign of 2016'

Did Russia Get Trump Elected? People Are Wondering If This One Money Transfer Is ProofHandout  Getty Images News  Getty Images

The FBI is scrutinizing 60 wire transfers, most of which contained memo lines about financing the 2016 election, from the Russian foreign ministry to the country's embassies, BuzzFeed News reported Tuesday.

There are a total of 60 separate money transfers that are being scrutinized by the FBI, BuzzFeed reports, including one that was sent from the foreign ministry to the Russian embassy in Washington DC in early August 2016, just before the start of the final leg of the presidential campaign.

Some journalists took to Twitter after the news broke to note how "helpful" it was for the Kremlin to include such an explicit line in a memo.

Citibank spokesperson Jennifer Lowney said the financial institution is "diligent" in reporting suspicious transfers but that "given the confidential nature of these reports, we do not comment on or confirm any particular report or transaction".

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All transactions originated from VTB Bank - which was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department following Russia's 2014 invasion of Crimea - and moved through Citibank accounts across the world, eventually landing in Russian embassy accounts.

"We had an election and the intelligence community concluded Russian Federation interfered in it", said one Federal Bureau of Investigation agent on the condition of anonymity to Buzzfeed. The FBI and other law enforcement agencies are examining more than 60 wire transfers from the Russian government to its embassies, including those in the USA, marked: "to finance election campaign of 2016".

Russia indeed held parliamentary elections on September 18 a year ago and the foreign ministry could feasibly have wired money to embassies to facilitate voting for Russians living overseas. The wire transfer into the Russian embassy's US bank account didn't violate the sanction, but Citibank flagged it as suspicious activity. and subsequently found dozens of other payments with that same suspicious memo line.

A Citibank review has turned up dozens of similar transactions, BuzzFeed reported, all of which are suspicious in that the bank's compliance officers have been "unable to determine the financial, business, or legal objective of the transactions". "It's a good lead".

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