FBI probing if foreign governments, groups, individuals funded Capitol rioters using Bitcoin - report
- The FBI is probing whether foreign actors provided funding to groups and individuals who helped insitgate the Capitol riots on January 6, reported NBC News.
- According to a report by Bitcoin experts last week, $500,000 in the currency was transferred to US far-right groups and individuals by a now deceased French national about a month ahead of the riots.
- The House of Representatives is probing possible foreign influence in instigating the riots as part of its probe into security failings that allowed rioters to swarm the Capitol.
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The FBI is investigating whether foreign governments, individuals or organizations provided funding for hardline Trump supporters who planned the protests that sparked the attack the US Capitol on January 6, NBC News reports.
A current official at the bureau and a former official told the outlet that it is probing a $500,000 Bitcoin payment apparently by a French national ahead of the riots to key far-right figures and groups in the US.
In a blog posting last week Chainanalysis, a company that specializes in tracking Bitcoin payments, documented how the money was paid on December 8 to a number of US far-right individuals and organizations.
"We have also gathered evidence that strongly suggests the donor was a now-deceased computer programmer based in France," Chainalysis said in the report, and does not identify the donor.
The FBI declined to comment on the report to Insider, citing the bureau's policy of "neither confirming or denying the existence of an investigation."
Far-right podcaster Nick Fuentes, who spoke at the protest but has denied being part of the group that stormed the Capitol, received the largest donation, according to the report.
Chainanalysis reported that Fuentes received a 13.5 bitcoins, worth about $250,000 at the time.
Insider has attempted to reach Fuentes for comment through what appears to be his Facebook page. Reuters was unable to reach Fuentes for comment on the report last week.
Insider has previously documented concern among counter-terrorism experts that Russian far-right groups could use their influence among white nationalist groups and individuals in the US to instigate violence around the US presidential election.
The current FBI official who spoke to NBC News said the agency didn't currently suspect Russian involvement in the transfer.
The House of Representatives in its investigation into securiy failings that led to rioters swarming the Capitol will probe whether foreign powers played a role in insitigating the insurrection or sought to exploit the aftermath.
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