• The GCC Financial Forum 2019
US boyfriend of ‘Russian agent’ charged with fraud

US boyfriend of ‘Russian agent’ charged with fraud

An American who was dating jailed alleged Russian agent Maria Butina was charged with fraud Tuesday, adding a new twist in the sprawling investigations into Moscow’s meddling in US politics. Republican and National Rifle Association operative Paul Erickson was charged with one count of fraud for cheating investors in companies he controlled that purported to be running assisted living facilities and building homes in North Dakota. He also allegedly cheated investors in a wheelchair design and production company, according to the indictment.

In all three cases, he took hundreds of thousands of dollars from investors and used some of it for his personal needs, the indictment said. In addition, he was charged with seven accounts of money laundering for transfers he made using the fraudulently raised funds. Erickson opened the door to conservative circles for Butina, who built a network of high-level Republican and NRA contacts between 2013 and 2017 before her arrest last year. With her, he arranged for a high-level delegation from the NRA to visit Russia in December 2015, where they met with senior Russian officials.

That visit has come under scrutiny in investigations into possible collusion between President Donald Trump’s election campaign and Russia. In Washington, Erickson helped Butina gain admission to American University’s graduate school and they lived together while she studied and wove her way through Washington’s Republican circles. According to the charges against her and her guilty plea last December, Butina worked for powerful Russian central banker and Vladimir Putin crony Alexander Torshin on an explicit mission to “establish unofficial lines of communications with Americans who having power and influence over US politics.”

“Butina sought to use those unofficial lines of communication for the benefit of the Russian Federation,” the Justice Department said. Meanwhile, based on the Russian connections he made through Butina, in 2016 Erickson offered to set up contacts between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign. According to US media reports, those actions have raised the possibility that he could be charged with illegally acting as an agent for Moscow, and with conspiracy for his work with Butina. The indictment Wednesday made no direct mention of his relationship to Butina, who is in jail awaiting sentencing. But there were hints of a connection: money transfers to American University, and to “M.B.”, which could be her initials.




Hsieh upsets Pliskova

Hsieh upsets Pliskova

Hsieh Su-wei won the last six games to beat fourth seed Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 yesterday in Dubai and will face a woman she has never beaten, Petra Kvitova, in the semi-finals. Second seed Kvitova, winner of the event in 2013,

US, China open trade talks in Beijing

US, China open trade talks in Beijing

US and Chinese negotiators kicked off two days of high-level trade talks in Beijing yesterday hoping to resolve a festering dispute that has cast a shadow over financial markets and the global growth outlook. Pressure to seal an accord

Saudi crown prince to visit Indonesia

Saudi crown prince to visit Indonesia

Indonesia will host Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for a state visit next week, Jakarta said yesterday, part of an Asian tour that includes stops in Pakistan, India and Malaysia. His two-day visit to the world’s b


All eyes on Sharm el-Sheikh

All eyes on Sharm el-Sheikh

His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa will lead Bahrain’s delegation to the first Arab-EU Summit, which kick-offs tomorrow in the presence of European and Arab leaders at Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. The R

Lending a helping hand

Lending a helping hand

The supporting activities of the second edition of the Strongest Bahraini Championship were held yesterday at Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) under the patronage of HH Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa. The move was part of humani

Saudi bags $10bn oil deal

Saudi bags $10bn oil deal

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud met China’s President Xi Jinping yesterday and bagged a $10-billion oil deal. Prince Mohammed arrived in Beijing on Thursday following visits to Pakistan and India. &ld

Hsieh upsets Pliskova

Hsieh upsets Pliskova

Hsieh Su-wei won the last six games to beat fourth seed Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 yesterday in Dubai and will face a woman she has never beaten, Petra Kvitova, in the semi-finals. Second seed Kvitova, winner of the event in 2013,

Kim Kardashian sues fashion company

Kim Kardashian sues fashion company

Reality TV star Kim Kardashian West has filed a lawsuit against an online retailer for using her name and image without permission to advertise their own designs. Kim on Wednesday filed a case against Missguided USA, seeking damages in