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Federal investigators are trying to make sense of some bank transactions conducted by a man who launched an independent effort to find Hillary Clinton’s emails at the height of the 2016 election.
Peter W. Smith, a GOP operative, said he found several hacker groups he believed could help uncover messages that churned through Clinton’s private email server. Smith gave an interview to The Wall Street Journal in May 2017, during which he implied that Michael Flynn, once an adviser to Trump, was on board with his plan.
According to a BuzzFeed News report published Friday, Smith conducted several bank transactions during his search that have caught the attention of the FBI and congressional lawmakers.
Those transactions include a $9,500 withdrawal from a bank account at Northern Trust that was linked to KLS Research, a shell company Smith set up as part of the email search effort.
Smith allegedly deposited those funds into his personal account at the same bank, withdrew about $5,000 of it, and “sent checks to an accountant and an LLC controlled by a private real estate company,” BuzzFeed News’ Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier wrote.
According to their report, Northern Trust turned over documents on 88 suspicious cash transactions totaling $140,000 conducted between nine accounts Smith controlled at the bank.
Those transactions took place between January 2016 and April 2017. A withdrawal of $3,000 occurred just six days after 2016 presidential election, the report said.
The Smith case is just one of the many subplots in the broader Russia investigation being led by the special counsel Robert Mueller. His investigative team is examining Russian interference in the 2016 US election that sought to tilt the contest in Trump’s favor.