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13 Russians Indicted For Interfering in US Elections

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Thirteen Russians have been charged with interfering in the US 2016 election, in a major development in the FBI investigation.

Three of those named have been accused of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and five have been accused of aggravated identity theft.

The announcement was made by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating alleged Russian meddling.

Three Russian companies are also named in the indictment.

Speaking at a news conference, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said there was no allegation that any American was “a knowing participant in this illegal activity” nor was it alleged that the meddling altered the election outcome.

But he said the 37-page indictment showed that Russians had wanted to sow discord in the US.

The indictment says some of the defendants used computer systems in the US to hide the Russian origin of their activities.

“Defendants, posing as US persons and creating false US personas, operated social media pages and groups designed to attract US audiences,” it reads.

“Defendants and their co-conspirators also created and controlled numerous Twitter accounts designed to appear as if US persons or groups controlled them.”

It says those involved systematically measured how well their internet posts were doing and adjusted their strategies to maximise effectiveness.

It also says those named in the indictment began discussing how to affect the election as early as 2014.

“By 2016, defendants and their co-conspirators used their fictitious online persons to interfere with the 2016 US presidential election,” the indictment continues.

“They engaged in operations primarily to communicate derogatory information about Hillary Clinton, to denigrate other candidates such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and to support Bernie Sanders and then-candidate Donald Trump.”

President Trump was briefed on the indictment earlier on Friday, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.

One of the men named in the indictment – Evgeny Prigozhin, who is known as “Putin’s chef” denied election tampering.

“The Americans are very impressionable people, they see what they want to see,” he was quoted as saying by Russian news agency Ria Novosti on Friday.

“I have great respect for them. I’m not at all upset that I’m on this list. If they want to see the devil, let them see him.”/CNN

 

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