Ex-Informant Accused of Lying About Bidens Said He Had Russian Contacts

A former F.B.I. informant accused of making false bribery claims about President Biden and his son Hunter — which were widely publicized by Republicans — claimed to have been fed information by Russian intelligence, according to a court filing on Tuesday.

In the memo, prosecutors portrayed the former informant, Alexander Smirnov, 43, as a serial liar incapable of telling the truth about even the most basic details of his own life. But Mr. Smirnov told federal investigators that “officials associated with Russian intelligence were involved in passing a story” about Hunter Biden.

Those disclosures, including Mr. Smirnov’s unverifiable claim that he met with Russian intelligence officials as recently as three months ago, made him a flight risk and endangered national security, Justice Department officials said. Mr. Smirnov had been held in custody in Las Vegas, where he has lived since 2022, since his arrest last week.

He was released from custody on Tuesday on a personal recognizance bond after a detention hearing, said his lawyers, David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld.

Prosecutors did not specify which story Russian intelligence is said to have been fed to Mr. Smirnov, an Israeli citizen. But they suggested they could not believe anything he said. And they had many tales to choose from.

The memo describes Mr. Smirnov as a human hall of mirrors: He fed the F.B.I. bogus information about the Bidens and misled prosecutors about his wealth, estimated at $6 million, while telling them he worked in the security business, even though the government could find no proof that was true.

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