A dual Russian-American citizen has been charged with acting as a spy in the US, according to court filings that say she ran organizations that “sought to spread Russian propaganda.”
Elena Branson was charged Tuesday with acting and conspiring to act in the US illegally as an agent of the Russian government, willfully failing to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, conspiring to commit visa fraud and making false statements to the FBI, according to a criminal complaint.
The complaint alleges that Branson fled to Russia in 2020.
From at least 2011, Branson worked on behalf of the Russian government and Russian officials to advance Russian interests in the US, the complaint says. Prosecutors allege she coordinated meetings for Russian officials to lobby US political officials and businesspeople, and operated organizations to publicly promote Russian government policies.
CNN has attempted to contact Branson for comment on the charges.
The charges come as tensions between the US and Russia continue to intensify following Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine last month, with the US front-and-center in a multinational effort to punish Russia for its actions.
Live updates: Russia invades Ukraine