FBI informant slandered Biden at the request of Russian intelligence services - ForumDaily
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FBI informant slandered Biden at the request of Russian intelligence services

A former FBI informant who alleged that the Ukrainian firm Burisma paid $5 million each to Joe Biden and his son Hunter was arrested on February 14 in Las Vegas and charged with making false statements. Reports how the case is progressing with the BBC.

Photo: iStock.com/Moor Studio

43-year-old Alexander Smirnov was arrested at the Las Vegas airport after returning to the United States from abroad. A US special prosecutor has formally charged a former FBI informant with perjury. He alleged that the Ukrainian firm Burisma bribed Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

Special prosecutor David Weiss, who is leading the investigation into Joe Biden's son, said that Smirnov slandered the president because he did not like him as a politician.

During the debate over the preventive measure for him, well-known lawyers David Chesnoff and Richard Schoenfeld asked that their client be allowed to go home before trial under the public supervision of the authorities. The prosecutor's office argued that Smirnov had the ability and means to go on the run, and demanded that he be kept in custody.

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Prosecutors' 28-page motion contained excerpts from Smirnov's FBI reports. They show that the informant's unfounded allegations about millions in bribes allegedly received by Joe Biden and his son Hunter from the Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holding were, according to the informant, suggested to him by Russian intelligence agencies.

Arguments of lawyers

The lawyers began by saying that Smirnov's American passport had already been confiscated by the authorities, and he was being invited to surrender his Israeli passport.

For the last two years, he has lived permanently in Las Vegas in the cooperative apartment of his friend Diana Lavrenyuk, and before that he lived in California for 16 years.

When deciding on release before the trial, American judges take into account the arrestee’s family ties. The lawyers noted that Diana’s son, who now lives in Washington, has been “part of Smirnov’s life” for many years. In addition, the defendant has a niece in Florida, Lynore Schaefer, who is planning to arrive in Las Vegas for the next court hearing.

Smirnov has no criminal record, the defense continued. If the court finds him guilty, then, according to the federal Penal Code, he faces only 15 to 21 months in prison. The idea was that no one runs away from such childhood deadlines.

In American jurisprudence, there is a presumption in favor of releasing a prisoner pending trial, as Smirnov's defenders reminded the court in their 14-page petition. Exceptions are made only for those accused who may escape or pose a danger to society.

Smirnov is accused of making false statements about the current US president and his son in connection with the Ukrainian campaign. The lawyers argued that the charges against their client were “exaggerated and politically motivated,” and did not involve espionage or theft, and therefore were not considered serious.

In addition, the accused does not drink or take drugs, has “exemplary moral character” and suffers from an eye disease, for which he underwent seven operations last year and requires constant care. The next day, Smirnov appeared in court wearing dark glasses.

Arguments of the prosecutor's office

The prosecutor's petition, in which it tried to refute all the defense's arguments, was twice as long.

The prosecution listed four circumstances requiring Smirnov to be kept in custody.

First, “he claims to have contacts with numerous foreign intelligence agencies and planned to leave the United States two days after the date of his arrest for a month-long trip to a number of countries. The defendant claimed that during this trip he would meet with members of foreign intelligence agencies.”

If Smirnov were released, those foreign intelligence agencies could help him escape, prosecutors say.

Secondly, he has liquidity of more than $6 million at his disposal. With this amount, prosecutors argued, “he could exist comfortably until the end of his days.”

Third, according to prosecutors, Smirnov hid his access to these funds from authorities after his arrest and stated that he only had $1500 in cash and $5000 in a checking account.

The prosecutor's office attached to its petition copies of bank statements, from which it followed that at the end of December Smirnov had more than $2,9 million in his account, and Lavrenyuk had more than $3,8 million. As prosecutors wrote, he hid these assets after arrest, further proof that Smirnov cannot be trusted.

Finally, he is an Israeli citizen. The nearest Israeli consulate is a five-hour drive from Las Vegas, in Los Angeles. That is, even if Smirnov surrenders all his passports to the authorities, he can restore his Israeli one at any time.

When he became a secret informant, an FBI curator was assigned to Smirnov, with whom they constantly talked for many years, sometimes even every day. It was to him that Smirnov made a number of false statements in 2020 about Biden Sr. (coded in court documents as “Civil Servant No. 1”) and his son Hunter (coded as “Businessman No. 1”).

The most sensational was Smirnov’s claim that Burisma owner Nikolai Zlochevsky allegedly gave the Bidens bribes in the amount of $5 million each. When the Treasury Department announced last week that it had arrested Smirnov for lying to the FBI, many of the current president's supporters rejoiced that the revelation of the lie would end the Congressional Republican Caucus's attempt to impeach him.

Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin called on the Republican-led Congressional Oversight Committee to immediately "end its fraudulent impeachment preparations."

The committee retorted: “We have 30 million reasons to continue this training, and not one of these reasons depends on a corrupt FBI or some informant.”

In any case, the attempt to impeach Joe Biden will almost certainly be thwarted by the Democratic US Senate.

The most sensational section of the prosecutor's request to leave Smirnov under arrest is devoted to a description of his contacts with foreign intelligence services, of which prosecutors name only one - Russian.

“If Smirnov has no public relations in Las Vegas, then he has plenty of connections with foreign countries, including - and this is the most alarming thing - contacts, by his own admission, with foreign intelligence services, in particular with Russian ones. Moreover, he had contact with them only recently,” prosecutors said.

The FBI was aware of these contacts because Smirnov himself reported them.

Spy Games

The prosecutor's office highlights numerous contacts between the informant and a person coded as “Russian civil servant No. 1.” Smirnov identified him in different ways. For example, as the son of a former high-ranking official of the Russian Federation, or as the leader of two teams involved in liquidations in a third country, or as a Russian representative in another country, or as a person associated with a specific Russian intelligence service.

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In December last year, Smirnov, according to prosecutors, reported to his supervisor about another trip abroad, during which he attended a meeting with “Russian civil servant No. 2.” The informant described him as a “high-ranking Russian intelligence official.” According to Smirnov, the purpose of the meeting was to discuss “the political resolution of Russia’s war against Ukraine.”

During the same trip, Smirnov met with “Russian Civil Servant No. 1,” who claimed that “Russian Civil Servant No. 4,” the head of a Russian intelligence unit, was running an intelligence operation at a hotel club.

The Russian intelligence service, as Smirnov told his handler, is listening to the conversations of hotel guests on their cell phones, including important Americans. The compromising material collected in this way could be useful to the Russian authorities to interfere in the 2024 American elections.

According to prosecutors, last September Smirnov met with a group of FBI investigators and tried to sell them another story from the Bidens' lives. The informant advised his interlocutors to find out whether Hunter Biden's conversations were recorded at the Kiev Premier Palace Hotel, since this facility is allegedly controlled by Russia and is bugged.

Smirnov said that Biden Jr. often visited this hotel, and noted that he himself came across a video recording of him entering the Premier Palace.

The harmony of this version is violated by the fact that Hunter Biden, according to the prosecutor’s office, has never been to Ukraine.

Prosecutors allege that before his arrest at the Las Vegas airport, Smirnov revealed that individuals associated with Russian intelligence were involved in spreading lies about Hunter Biden.

After reviewing the positions of the parties, Magistrate Judge Daniel Albregtz ordered Smirnov to be released on parole, ordered a GPS sensor to be attached to him, and prohibited him from leaving Las Vegas.

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