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Treasury Department Employee Arrested For Leaking Bank Records Of Paul Manafort, Others

Treasury Department Employee Arrested For Leaking Bank Records Of Paul Manafort, Others”

Edwards, who lives in Quinton, Viriginia, is scheduled to appear in federal court in Virginia on Wednesday afternoon, pending prosecution in Manhattan federal court on charges of conspiracy and unauthorized disclosures of SARs.

Edwards, a senior adviser at the Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, has been charged with unlawfully disclosing suspicious activity reports and conspiring to do so.

Prosecutors also said in a criminal complaint that the reporter exchanged encrypted messages with an unnamed associate director at FinCEN to whom Edwards reports. Prosecutors said that beginning in October 2017, Edwards disclosed suspicious activity reports connected to Manafort and his longtime associate Richard Gates, the Russian embassy and accused Russian spy Maria Butina.

The complaint also describes alleged communications Edwards had with "Reporter-1", which took place over phone calls and encrypted messaging applications.

Edwards was arrested Tuesday carrying a flash drive containing the SARs and a phone she used to send the information to the reporter.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in a statement that Edwards "betrayed her position of trust by repeatedly disclosing highly sensitive information". The charges were filed in federal court in NY but she made her first court appearance in northern Virginia.

A BuzzFeed spokesman declined to comment.

The court documents also indicate the FBI has investigated one of Edwards' bosses, an associate director of FinCEN, noting that person exchanged 325 text messages with the reporter in question during the month when the first story appeared citing SARs reports.

The 40 year-old Edwards faces two charges which carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison for each - unauthorized disclosures of Suspicious Activity Reports, and one count of conspiracy to make such disclosures.

The investigation into the leaked reports came after federal agents identified a pattern of financial information from people or entities under investigation by various federal prosecutors' offices, including that of special counsel Robert Mueller, appearing in news reports.

Stephen Hudak, a spokesman for FinCEN, said Edwards had been placed on administrative leave.

Peter Greenspan, Edwards' attorney, declined to comment on the charges.

About 2 million suspicious activity reports were filed in 2017 by banks, money service businesses, casinos and others, according to FinCEN officials.

When questioned by law-enforcement officials at the time of her arrest, she confessed that she had provided the reports to the reporter, according to the complaint.

Edwards also sent the reporter internal Treasury Department emails, investigative memos and intelligence assessments, prosecutors allege. The complaint lists the titles of multiple articles allegedly based on the leaked reports, titles that match published Buzzfeed articles.



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