Treasury employee accused of leaking documents to reporter

Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards 40. Handout from the Alexandria Sheriff's Office

Prosecutors said beginning in October 2017, Ms Edwards disclosed suspicious activity reports connected to Manafort and his longtime associate Rick Gates, accused Russian agent Maria Butina, the Russian embassy and a unit of Prevezon Holdings Ltd, a corporation owned by Russian businessman Denis Katsyv. She has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors charged Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards with the unauthorized disclosure of suspicious activity reports and conspiracy.

The official, Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, illegally disclosed the documents, known as Suspicious Activity Reports, to a reporter for BuzzFeed News, according to the complaint and a person familiar with the matter.

Edwards is now on administrative leave, according to FinCEN spokesman Steve Hudak.

Talking Points Memo notes that while the name of the media outlet Edwards allegedly leaked to is not named in the complaint, the titles of the articles in question suggest it is BuzzFeed News.

Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of NY, said Edwards "betrayed her position of trust by repeatedly disclosing highly sensitive information". BuzzFeed also did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokeswoman for the US Attorney's office declined to comment.

According to the Washington Post, Edwards has already been released on $100,000 bond and will be expected to appear for a November 2 court date in the Southern District of NY. "She transmitted the SARs to Reporter-1 by means that included taking photographs of them and texting the photographs to Reporter-1 over an encrypted application".

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In an indictment released on Wednesday, federal prosecutors charged an official in the Treasury Department with illegally leaking financial information about bank transactions by certain people involved in the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 elections, indicating that a series of leaks to one news organization took place over the a year ago about key figures in the case, as well as details of the underlying financial probe.

Peter Greenspan, Edwards' attorney, declined to comment on the charges. In August 2018, for example, Edwards and the reporter exchanged 541 messages, the indictment says.

The flash drive files "appear to contain thousands of SARs, along with other highly sensitive material relating to Russia, Iran, and the terrorist group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant", the complaint charges.

BuzzFeed's reporting contained detailed information drawn from Suspicious Activity Reports. That list corresponds neatly with BuzzFeed's stories on the subject.

Politico reports that the Federal Bureau of Investigation served a search warrant for Edwards' cell phone Tuesday.

The disclosures began around October 2017, the complaint said, and continued for a year.

When she was arrested, Edwards was in possession of a flash drive containing the confidential reports, prosecutors said. The judge barred her from contacting the reporter as part of her release, and limited her travel to eastern Virginia and the Southern District of NY.

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