Treasury Official Arrested For Alleged Manafort And Russia Related Leaks

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October 17, 2018 12:10 p.m.

A senior adviser at the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network was arrested Tuesday for allegedly leaking details about the office’s suspicious activity reports.

Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards was charged with one count of unauthorized disclosures of suspicious activity reports and one count of conspiracy to make unauthorized disclosures of suspicious activity reports, the U.S. Attorneys Office in Manhattan announced Wednesday.

According to the complaint, the information she leaked about the reports appeared to be related to media stories about the investigation into former Trump campaign chairmen Paul Manafort. Other suspicious activity report details allegedly disclosed by Edwards have to do with other Russia-probe matters, including reports related to the Russian embassy, Mariia Butina, and Prevezon Alexander, the prosecutors said.

Prosecutors were working with Treasury Office of Inspector General investigators as part of a probe into leaks, the U.S. Attorney’s Office press release said.

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

The media outlet that appears to be referenced in the complaint is Buzzfeed, which is not named but referred to as a news organizations headquartered in New York. The complaint lists the titles of multiple articles allegedly based on the leaked reports, titles that match published Buzzfeed articles.

According to a FBI agent’s affidavit in the complaint, a forensic investigation into the disclosures found that some 24,000 files were saved onto a flash drive the government issued to Edwards.

According to the complaint, Edwards admitted to sending photos of the suspicious activity reports to the reporter, known as “Reporter-1,” during an interview with agents investigating the leaks, after initially denying communications with the media.

The complaint also describes alleged communications Edwards had with “Reporter-1,” which took place over phone calls and encrypted messaging applications. Those communications allegedly took place in the days leading up to the publication of the articles in question.

It describes one exchange over encrypted messaging in which the reporter discussed with Edwards how to search records related to Prevezon, a firm with links to some of the Russian participants in the 2016 Trump Tower meeting. The complaint also details searches conducted from Edwards’ personal email account that led to the articles in question.

The complaint also alleges text messages between Reporter-1 and Edwards’ supervisor, an associate director at FinCEN, who is dubbed “CC-1” the court filing.

The stories referenced in the complaint covered multiple angles of the federal government’s investigation into Russia meddling in American politics. They tracked some of the contours of the investigation into Manafort, both before and after special counsel Robert Mueller’s charges were brought against him. (Manafort is now cooperating with Mueller’s probe). They also brought to light new details of the financial dealings of other people swept up in the Russia probe, including Butina — who has been charged with acting as a foreign agent without registering— and Peter Smith, the late GOP operative who had sought to obtain Hillary Clinton’s emails during the 2016 election.

Edwards is 40 years old, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said, and was arrested in Virginia, where she lives. She will have a hearing at Wednesday afternoon in front of a judge in the U.S. District of Eastern Virginia.

Read the criminal complaint below:

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