The United States “considers these minimum estimates, and that Russia probably secretly transferred more funds that have not been detected,” said a senior US official. “We think this is just the tip of the iceberg,” he told reporters on condition of anonymity.
US intelligence did not specify the names of the countries involved. In the past, US officials have cited Bosnia or Ecuador as examples of countries where Russia has exerted direct influence through its economic power. Among the most impressive cases mentioned in this new analysis is that of a Russian ambassador stationed in an Asian country, who gave millions of dollars to a presidential candidate.
After the invasion of Ukraine
In Europe, Moscow used fictitious contracts and front companies to finance political parties, while Russian state companies channeled funds to Central America, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, according to Washington . Russia sometimes sent cash, but also used cryptocurrencies and “luxury” gifts, according to the information.
The administration of Joe Biden had requested this estimate for his services after the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, which had led the United States to do everything to isolate Moscow and arm Kiev. The senior official said that US diplomacy will share these findings with the governments of more than 100 other countries.
This new assessment did not analyze Russian interference in American politics.
But US intelligence has previously accused Russia of interfering in the 2016 US election, including using social media to support Donald Trump, who has expressed admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin. The United States is “working hard to address (its) weaknesses” and encourages “other countries to do the same and join (them) in this important effort,” the official said.