Feds Say New York Venture Advisor Was Russian Agent

“Elena advises MVP in obtaining interests, equity and shares in emerging technology companies, as well as in identifying and attracting investors, strategic partners and other candidates for the advisory board”, a- she declared. LinkedIn says the profile.

A spokesperson for MVP said Branson joined the company as an “informal advisor” in 2015 and has not been affiliated with the company since 2016.

“She had limited interaction with the company and no interaction with our customers or our portfolio companies,” the spokesperson said. “His LinkedIn is inaccurate in both scope and duration.”

Branson left the United States in October 2021 after being questioned by investigators and remains at large. It is unclear if she has an attorney.

“Especially given current world events, the need to detect and thwart attempts at foreign influence is of critical importance,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement. “The Southern District of New York is proud to do its part in the fight against tyranny.”

Branson, 61, is from the Soviet Union and has dual Russian and American citizenship. In addition to starting the Russian Center New York, she led the Russian Community Council of the USA, funded by the Russian government, which coordinated an “I Love Russia” campaign aimed at American youth.

She also cultivated contacts with New York leaders.

According to the criminal complaint, in 2015 a Russian official contacted Branson to arrange “a friendly hockey game between the Moscow Interior Ministry and the New York Police Department!” Branson replied that she had contacted the New York Police Commissioner and that an unidentified New York State senator was willing to meet with the Moscow delegation.

Weeks later, in an email with the subject “New York,” she said the delegation would be dining with the state senator at a venue on the Upper West Side, according to the criminal complaint. It is not known whether the dinner took place.

In the spring of 2016, a Russian minister asked Branson to arrange a meeting with Donald Trump and an unidentified girl, the criminal complaint alleges, and Branson sent a draft invitation to the former president of the Russian Community Council inviting Trump and her children to a forum. .

“There is no indication that the former president or his children attended the meeting in question,” FBI Special Agent Neil Somers said in the criminal complaint.

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