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The Capitol is illuminated by the rising sun in Washington, Wednesday, March 29, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

A key senator said a former Russian spy is lobbying without registering as a foreign agent


An admitted former Russian spy who now works as a lobbyist in Washington and has been tied to the creators of the unverified Trump dossier may have lobbied against Russian sanctions, according to a letter by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA).

Grassley requested all immigration information available on Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian citizen who became an American citizen in 2009, in a letter written Tuesday. He cited a July 2016 complaint alleging Akhmetshin had not registered as a foreign agent as required by law.

Akhmetshin was described by Radio Free Europe as a "Russian gun-for-hire [lurking] in the shadows of Washington's lobbying world."  In one interview, he admitted to having worked as a Soviet counterintelligence officer. In another interview, he denied it. He would have had to mention his intelligence work when applying for U.S. citizenship. 

He allegedly worked with Fusion GPS, the company behind the unverified dossier that claimed ties between President Trump and Russia. 

Akhmetshin's campaign allegedly targeted the Global Magnitsky Act. Passed by Congress in December, the bill applies sanctions to human rights abusers and corrupt leaders. It was originally named for Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer for Hermitage Capital Management who was killed by Russian authorities after exposing a tax fraud scheme. 

Grassley's letter alleges Akhmetshin was lobbying against the Magnitsky Act while Fusion GPS was making the controversial dossier. Grassley requested more info on Akhmetshin by April 18.

A key senator said a former Russian spy is lobbying without registering as a foreign agent

WATCH | Foreign lobbyists are required to register as such in Washington and could face jail time if they don't. But usually, they just get a letter.

Requests to Fusion GPS for comment were not returned.

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