U.S. indictment of Russians who allegedly meddled in its 2016 presidential election reveals how the crypto space is said to have played a role in helping the Russians pull off their nefarious activities.
After more than a year of investigations into Russia meddling in the United States’ 2016 elections, a 37-page indictment came down Friday accusing Russia of doing myriad actions to interfere with the American elections’ process.
That included using cryptocurrency exchanges to facilitate their tomfoolery.
Let’s get right to what we learned from the indictments as it relates to the crypto space.
Russians and cryptos
In pulling off their election meddling stunts, the conspirators allegedly used a host of methods that they needed a way to finance and try not to get caught. Given the anonymous nature of the crypto space, it should be of no surprise that the Russians may have turned to it to hide their financing of their activities.
Here’s an excerpt from the indictment related to cryptos:
“…in order to maintain their accounts at PayPal and elsewhere, including online cryptocurrency exchanges, Defendants and their co-conspirators purchased and obtained false identification documents, including fake U.S. driver’s licenses.”
Russians and elections
Russia was hell bent on wreaking all kinds of havoc on the 2016 presidential elections, which featured Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Officials say the efforts by the Russians didn’t change the outcome of the elections, which, as you know, Trump won.
Nonetheless, the participants in the efforts have been charged with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. The federal grand jury assembled by the special prosecutor probing Russian meddling indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities for the roles they played in the meddling.
The indictment was announced during an impromptu press conference that caught many off guard. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein delivered the news. He said:
“Russian conspirators want to promote discord in the United States and undermine public confidence in democracy.”
The indictment also states:
“From in or around 2014 to the present, Defendants knowingly and intentionally conspired with each other (and with person known and unknown to the Grand Jury) to defraud the United States by impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful function of the government through fraud and deceit for the purpose of interfering with the U.S. political and electoral processes, including the presidential election of 2016.”
Russians make use of Americans who believe everything they read on social media
It appears that the Russians used the one thing they knew would work in their efforts to interfere with the elections – social media. They are alleged to have set up accounts on Twitter, YouTube and the world’s largest social media site – Facebook to spread divisive propaganda.
They used these bogus accounts to pretend to be U.S. activists. Their nefarious activities allegedly included buying ads, posting fabricated stories, and basically pitting Americans, who fell for much of the nonsense, against each other over the hotly contentious race between Clinton and Trump.
Observers have noted that the Russians, and anyone for that matter who is content to sow as much discord as possible during elections, will continue their plights, no matter the country. With the growth of the crypto space, and the fact that it’s not regulated, we should expect, and prepare, for it to be the means of choice to hide dishonest plots.
And for what it’s worth, all this meddling seemed to have been in vain. Take this comment from Rosenstein, the Deputy Attorney General:
“There is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity. There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election.”
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