Whatever else you might think of them, you’ve got to give Vladimir Putin’s cadre of sexy 20-something spies this: They certainly keep themselves busy. Remember AnnaChapman? Sure you do. Anyway, in addition to her sleeper cell activities, she managed to find enjoyable things to do on the Upper East Side, maybe get invited to Nouriel Roubini’s hot-tub, do other sex stuff and meet Cookie Monster, all while building up a résumé boasting stints at Barclays and a Berkshire Hathaway portfolio company. But she’s got nothing on her alleged colleague, Maria Butina.
It seems that, in addition to the usual honey-pot stuff, allegedly infiltrating the NRA and National Prayer Breakfast and undermining American democracy, Butina tried to work her magic on a 90-year-old man. Butina, it seems, had done her homework on Hank Greenberg and his fondness for lostcauses and throwing money away. And since, like all of the great spies, she had no qualms about throwing a friend—Greenberg more-or-less self-funds one of the only pro-Russia think tanks in Washington, which also gave Butina an opening to meet him—she though he might want to throw a few more million into the Russian bank that he’d already given $108 million and which was about to be uncovered as a massive fraud.
According to multiple sources familiar with her actions, Butina appeared to be aware that the Russian bank in which Greenberg had invested was in trouble.
Sources familiar with Butina’s activity told The Daily Beast that she approached his Starr investment empire and recommended he invest more money in the flailing bank. The move left observers shocked and disturbed—a little-known twenty-something who was closely linked to a top official in the Russian Central Bank appeared to be telling a major American financier how to handle his Russia investments….
Butina’s efforts to influence Greenberg’s investment decisions did not succeed.