In the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has begun investigating the possibility that foreign governments, organizations, or individuals may have provided financial support to the organizers of the storming of the Capitol in Washington on January 6.
According to NBC News, citing intelligence sources, the FBI is investigating whether foreign governments, organizations, or individuals provided financial support to the extremists who helped plan and execute the January 6 attack on the Capitol.
As part of the investigation, the FBI is investigating what appears to be payments of $ 500,000 in bitcoins made by a French citizen to key figures and groups from the “alternative right”, the sources said. These payments were documented and published online this week by a company that analyzes cryptocurrency transfers.
In addition, a joint threat assessment released this week by the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and various other federal and DC police agencies noted that following the January 6 riots, “Russian, Iranian and Chinese influencers seized the opportunity. to strengthen the narrative in support of their political interests during the period of presidential change”.
An unclassified intelligence report says that Russian state and state-owned media outlets have “expanded topics related to the violence and chaotic nature of the Capitol Hill incident, the impeachment of President Trump and social media censorship,” and “in at least one case such Russian media “claimed that Antifa members disguised themselves as supporters of President Trump and are responsible for the storming of the Capitol building.”
Meanwhile, the report says, the Chinese media “seized on this story to tarnish democratic governance in the United States by portraying the United States as a whole in decline – and to justify China’s crackdown on protesters in Hong Kong.”
According to NBC News, US law enforcement officials and terrorism experts say there has been a “long-standing mutual affection” between Western white supremacists and the Russian authorities. And some US senators were so worried about the issue that they included in the 2021 defense bill requiring the Pentagon to “report to Congress on Russia’s level of support for“ racially and ethnically motivated violent extremism groups and networks in Europe and the United States ”- and what can be done to counter this. ”
At the same time, an FBI source clarified to NBC News that the Bureau does not necessarily suspect Russian involvement in the bitcoin transfers, which appear to have been committed by a French programmer who, according to French media, committed suicide on December 8 after sending the transfers.
But the cryptocurrency payments prompted the FBI to investigate whether any money was used to detect illegal activities, which, if true, raises the likelihood of money laundering and conspiracy charges, the Bureau said.