Political News

Treasury official charged with leaking docs related to Russia, Manafort

Posted October 17, 2018 12:43 p.m. EDT

— A senior official in the Treasury Department was arrested and charged Wednesday with disclosing sensitive financial transaction reports pertaining to multiple entities tied to President Donald Trump and Russia, including former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, to a reporter.

The official, Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, illegally disclosed the documents, known as Suspicious Activity Reports, to a reporter for BuzzFeed News, according to the indictment and a person familiar with the matter. The indictment lists around a dozen news articles that contained information based on the content of the reports, and the descriptions of the stories in the court filings match articles published by BuzzFeed.

A spokesman for BuzzFeed declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the US Attorney's office declined to comment. An attorney for Edwards couldn't immediately be identified.

Edwards, who is senior adviser the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, known as "FinCEN," was charged with one count of unauthorized disclosure of Suspicious Activity Reports and one count of conspiracy to make such unauthorized disclosures. The reports she allegedly leaked concerned not only Manafort, but his business associate Richard Gates, the Russian Embassy and alleged Russian spy Maria Butina, among others.

For a year, between October 2017 and this month, Edwards used an encrypted application to send electronic images or descriptions of the documents to a reporter, according to the indictment, at times exchanging a large volume of messages. In August 2018, for example, Edwards and the reporter exchanged 541 messages, the indictment says.

In October, Edwards concealed her relationship with the reporter to federal agents, according to the indictment, and denied any contacts with news media.

She is due to appear in court in Alexandria, Virginia, on Wednesday afternoon.