DOJ: Ex-FBI Informant Has Contacts in Russian Intelligence

The Department of Justice alleged in a court filing Tuesday that the former FBI informant who was arrested last week for lying to the FBI counts among his contacts high-level operatives in Russia intelligence.

The filing was the government’s memorandum in support of detention for Alexander Smirnov, who the DOJ asserts is a flight risk. Smirnov, an Israeli citizen, need only drive five hours to a consulate in Los Angeles to secure a new passport and leave the U.S. “at any time,” prosecutors wrote. 

Defense attorneys said in a statement ahead of the hearing that they were asking for Smirnov’s release while he awaits trial “so he can effectively fight the power of the government.”

Smirnov, 43, is charged with lying to law enforcement and fabricating evidence, both felonies. The government asserts that Smirnov fabricated a multimillion-dollar bribery scheme involving President Joe Biden, his son Hunter, and Ukrainian energy company Burisma.  

Further, prosecutors on special counsel David Weiss’ team said in the filing that Smirnov has access to “over $6 million in liquid funds” and could use his Russian contacts “to resettle outside the United States.”

Smirnov is due in court later Tuesday in Las Vegas. He has been in custody at a facility in rural Pahrump, about a one-hour drive west of Las Vegas, since his arrest last week at the airport while returning from overseas. 

Prosecutors in the filing say that Smirnov’s contacts within Russian intelligence are “not benign.”

“Of particular note, Smirnov has reported numerous contacts with Russian Official 1, who has been described by Smirnov in a number of ways, including as the son of a former high-ranking Russian government official, someone who purportedly controls two groups of individuals tasked with carrying out assassination efforts in a third-party country, a Russian representative to another country, and as someone with ties to a particular Russian intelligence service,” the filing reads.

Further, Smirnov told the FBI that the Russian Intelligence Service ran an operation at a “club located at a particular hotel” where they were able to screen phone calls.

“The Russian Intelligence Service intercepted several calls placed by prominent U.S. persons the Russian government may use as ‘kompromat’ in the 2024 election, depending on who the candidates will be,” the filing read.

“Kompromat” is Russian for compromising material.

Smirnov falsely reported to the FBI in June 2020 that executives associated with Burisma paid Hunter and Joe Biden $5 million each in 2015 or 2016, prosecutors said in an indictment. Smirnov told his handler that an executive claimed to have hired Hunter Biden to “protect us, through his dad, from all kinds of problems,” according to court documents.

Prosecutors say Smirnov in fact had only routine business dealings with the company in 2017 and made the bribery allegations after he “expressed bias” against Joe Biden while he was a presidential candidate.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Mark Swanson

Mark Swanson, a Newsmax writer and editor, has nearly three decades of experience covering news, culture and politics.

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