Ex-FBI informant charged with lying about Bidens had Russian intelligence contacts, prosecutors say

Ex-FBI informant Alexander Smirnov, arrest in Las Vegas on 20 February 2024.
Ex-FBI informant Alexander Smirnov, arrest in Las Vegas on 20 February 2024. Copyright AP
Copyright AP
By Euronews with Associated Press
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Explosive case has destroyed the reputation of a key witness in a Republican impeachment effort against the president.


A former FBI informant charged with fabricating testimony about a non-existent multimillion-dollar bribery scheme involving President Joe Biden, his son Hunter and a Ukrainian energy company had contacts with Russian intelligence-affiliated officials, prosecutors said Tuesday.

The government legal team prosecuting Alexander Smirnov revealed the alleged contact as they urged a judge in Las Vegas to keep the defendant behind bars while he awaits trial. However, US Magistrate Judge Daniel Albregts allowed Smirnov to be released from custody on electronic GPS monitoring.

Smirnov is accused of falsely telling his FBI handler that executives with the Ukrainian energy company Burisma paid Hunter and Joe Biden €4.6 million each around 2015 – a claim that became central to the ongoing Republican impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives, which has yet to produce a full report or progress to a floor vote.

According to prosecutors, Smirnov admitted in an interview after his arrest last week that “officials associated with Russian intelligence were involved in passing a story” about Hunter Biden. They said Smirnov’s contacts with Russian officials were recent and extensive, and said Smirnov had planned to meet with one official during an upcoming overseas trip.

The White House did not immediately comment on the news.

Impeachment derailed

Prosecutors said Smirnov, who holds dual US-Israeli citizenship, falsely reported to the FBI in June 2020 that executives associated with Burisma paid millions of dollars to Hunter and Joe Biden in 2015 or 2016.

But Smirnov had only routine business dealings with the company starting in 2017 and made the bribery allegations after he “expressed bias” against Joe Biden while he was a presidential candidate, according to prosecutors.

He is charged with making a false statement and creating a false and fictitious record. The charges were filed in Los Angeles, where he lived for 16 years before relocating to Las Vegas two years ago.

Smirnov's claims have played a major part in the Republican effort in Congress to investigate the president and his family, and helped spark what is now a House impeachment inquiry into Biden.

Democrats called for an end to the probe after the Smirnov indictment came down last week, while Republicans distanced the inquiry from his claims and said they would continue to “follow the facts.”

Hunter Biden is expected to give a deposition next week.

The Burisma allegations became a flashpoint in Congress as Republicans pursuing investigations of President Biden and his family demanded the FBI release the unredacted form documenting the allegations. They acknowledged they couldn’t confirm if the allegations were true.

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