Treasury official charged with leaking docs related to Russia, Manafort

24 2017 a man enters the Treasury Department building in Washington D.C

Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, a senior-level FinCEN employee, allegedly betrayed her position of trust by repeatedly disclosing highly sensitive information contained in Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) to an individual not authorized to receive them.

As well as Manafort, the reports allegedly leaked by Edwards included information on Rick Gates, Trump's former deputy campaign chairman, and Maria Butina, the alleged Russian spy. She's accused of leaking the material to a journalist - who's not named in court papers.

A spokesman for BuzzFeed declined to comment.

At the time of her arrest, Edwards was found with the flash drive and cell phone she allegedly used to leak the government documents, according to the US Attorney's office.

Edwards was questioned by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents Tuesday in Virginia as they carried out a court-ordered search warrant to access her cellphone and to search her personally.

Information from the disclosures was reported in 11 articles that appeared in Buzzfeed over the course of a year, prosecutors said.

Edwards, 40, a senior adviser in the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, known as "FinCEN", was arrested and charged by the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of NY with one count of unauthorized disclosure of Suspicious Activity Reports and one count of conspiracy to make such unauthorized disclosures.

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Peter Greenspan, Edwards' attorney, declined to comment on the charges.

Both counts with which Edwards was charged carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

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

Suspicious Activity Reports are documents that banks file with the government when they spot potentially illegal transactions. Investigators said she had previously filed an unrelated whistleblower complaint and discussed this with congressional officials.

The 18-page criminal complaint details a search of Edwards's phone and a flash drive she possessed, on which Federal Bureau of Investigation agents say they found a lengthy digital trail of her interactions with the reporters, in which she shared SARS reports. On Wednesday, she confessed to leaking the reports but "falsely denied" knowing the SARs would be published, the complaint says.

She tried to "conceal her relationship" with the reporter on Tuesday and "denied having any contacts with the news media" when Federal Bureau of Investigation agents interviewed her, according to court documents.

Prosecutors said Edwards saved the confidential reports on a flash drive and sent them to the BuzzFeed reporter using an encrypted messaging application. 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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