A FEMALE Russian “spy” has been charged with infiltrating US political groups on the orders of a senior Kremlin official, it has emerged.
Maria Butina, 29, a pro-gun activist affiliated with the National Rifle Association (NRA), was arrested yesterday on a charge of conspiracy to act as an agent of the Russian government.
She is accused of “developing ties with American citizens and infiltrating political groups” – while back channelling information to Moscow.
Court papers say the Washington-based agent worked on behalf of an unnamed Kremlin official to influence senior US politicians between 2015 and 2017.
She is also alleged to have developed relationships with other political organisations.
Butina is a student at American University, in Washington DC, and a founder of the pro-gun rights Russian advocacy organisation Right to Bear Arms.
Prosecutors say the senior Russian official – who worked for the Russian Central Bank – has since been sanctioned by the US.
The court records do not name the official.
However, Butina is pictured on her Facebook page with Alexander Torshin, the deputy head of Russia’s Central Bank.
Other snaps show the flame-haired pro-gun activist posing with massive machine guns and rifles.
Torshin was sanctioned by the US Treasury Department in April.
Butina was arrested on Sunday and was due in court on Wednesday.
Photos on her Facebook page show she has attended NRA-sponsored events.
A Justice Department statement said Butina had been “developing relationships with US persons and infiltrating organisations having influence in American politics, for the purpose of advancing the interests of the Russian federation.”