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First Russian charged with attempted meddling in US election

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By Pascale Davies  with Reuters
First Russian charged with attempted meddling in US election
Copyright  Reuters

The first Russian national was charged with playing a key financial role in a Kremlin-backed plan to influence next month's congressional elections on Friday.

The complaint against Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova, 44, marks the first foreign meddling case in the upcoming US elections.

Officials state she was the chief accountant for Project Lakhta, an operation started in 2014 and funded by Russian oligarch Evgeny Viktorovich Prigozhin and two companies he controls.

US Attorney Zachary Terwilliger said in a statement: "The strategic goal of this alleged conspiracy, which continues to this day, is to sow discord in the US political system and to undermine faith in our democratic institutions."

She is said to have managed a so-called troll farm which posts inflammatory content online.

The complaint says it did find any evidence that Khusyaynova or anyone else involved in the conspiracy had any impact on the outcome of any U.S. election.

Khusyaynova is a resident of St. Petersburg, Russia, and is not in U.S. custody.

Special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russian individuals and three companies allegedly involved in meddling in the US political system in February, which included Prigoyhin.