A Treasury Department employee has been arrested for leaking thousands of bank records related to President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, his business partner Rick Gates, the Russian Embassy, and accused Russian agent Maria Butina.
Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, senior adviser at the Treasury’ Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), has been accused by the Department of Justice of leaking Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) to an as yet unidentified reporter at the Buzzfeed news outlet. Buzzfeed carried a story on October 15 that used information from the leak.
"Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, a senior-level FinCEN employee, 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," said U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman.
According to Bloomberg News, “Edwards began communicating with the unidentified reporter in July 2017, according to prosecutors.” The report went on to say, “Between October 2017 and January 2018, she saved thousands of FinCen files, including all the SARs cited in the case.”
A “co-conspirator,” who is not named in the complaint, exchanged with Edwards “approximately 301 messages with Report-1.”
On Tuesday, Edwards (40) was arrested while she had a flash drive in her possession that contained the SARs and a cellphone she used to leak the information to the Buzzfeed writer. Edwards confessed today that she leaked the reports. However, the government contends that she “falsely denied” knowing the SARs would be published. Federal prosecutors say Edwards sent the data to the Buzzfeed reporter using an encrypted app. She is also accused of transmitting internal FinCEN emails and documents to the reporter. These included confidential memos and intelligence and threat assessments to individuals and businesses.
Some of the material in the SARs focus on former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, and Rick Gates -- Manafort’s former business partner -- as well as alleged Russian spy Maria Butina and the Prevezon Alexander real estate company. This formed the basis of about 12 articles that that appeared on the Buzzfeed website. Buzzfeed is a subsidiary of NBC News.
According to prosecutors, the SARs are relevant to the probe being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller, federal prosecutors in Manhattan and the National Security Division of the Justice Department.
Edwards is scheduled to appear today at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on Wednesday.