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Media: Butina’s boyfriend may face espionage charges

Law enforcement reportedly asked around about Paul Erickson's business dealings and his reputation in conservative political circles

WASHINGTON, December 5. /TASS/. Paul Erickson, a consultant for the US Republican party and boyfriend of Russian citizen Maria Butina jailed in the US, has received a so-called target letter from federal investigators, which states that they are considering bringing charges against Erickson on the grounds of him secretly acting as an agent of a foreign government, the Daily Beast website informed on Wednesday.

Sources of the online media outlet inform that Erickson’s lawyer received a letter, which claims that the US federal investigation may charge him under "Section 951 of the US code the law barring people from secretly acting as agents of foreign governments."

A source familiar with the investigation told The Daily Beast that US federal investigation officers have conducted interviews with people close to Erickson, and that some of them provided official statements to the FBI.

However, the media outlet notes that this letter does not guarantee that Erickson will be charged with any crime.

Butina case

Russian citizen Maria Butina, 30, was arrested in Washington DC on July 15.

According to the US Department of Justice, she is suspected of acting "as an agent of Russia inside the United States by developing relationships with US persons and infiltrating organizations having influence in American politics, for the purpose of advancing the interests of the Russian Federation."

On July 21, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov demanded in a telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo that Butina be released as soon as possible. He also slammed all charges brought against her as fabricated.