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Alexander Porfirievich Torshin served as a Russian Senator from 2001 to 2015. He is also a close associate of Vladimir Putin and  the First Vice-chairman of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation. Additionally, he is also a billionaire oligarch with close ties to organized crime. Specifically, he is the purported Godfather of the notorious Taganskaya criminal organization.

According to Spanish authorities, who had Torshin under surveillance for some time, Torshin was directly involved with Russian crime figures operating on Mallorca in the Balearic Islands. The Spanish national police (La Guardia Civil) and Federal Prosecutors had tapped the phone lines of Taganskaya under-bosses and recorded conversations with Torshin, verifying his status as superior in criminal activities in Spain. While a number of Russian under-bosses have been taken into custody and face prosecution for charges ranging from money laundering to contract killing, Torshin evaded arrest. Spanish authorities believe that he was forewarned by Russian authorities.

An article in the Spanish newspaper, El Paisreported that a total of 33 phone conversations between Torshin and Russian crime boss on Palma de Mallorca, Alexander Romanov, reveal a close relationship between the two men and that Romanov was clearly a subordinate in the Taganskaya’s organizational structure.

In spite of the recorded conversations between the two men and a rather damning body of evidence that they had a close working relationship, a spokesman for Torshin released a statement noting,

Mr Torshin was acquainted with Alexander Romanov in 1990s, their contacts were informal in nature and terminated seven years ago. Mr Torshin has never intended to visit Alexander Romanov.

Member of the National Rifle Association (NRA), Activities in the US

Torshin has managed to become a life-time member of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and is prominent in a parallel organization in the Russian Federation called the Right to Bear Arms. The President of the Russian organization is Maria Butina, a close associate of Torshin’s who resides in Washington D.C.

Maria Butina

Maria Butina

On November 12, 2016 Butina held a birthday party at her residence in D.C attended by a number of Trump campaign members. The announced reason for the celebration was the winning of the election by Donald J. Trump.

Butina, an admirer of Putin has had a meteoric rise to prominence and that trajectory has been closely tied to the career of Torshin. As the President of Right to Bear Arms, her pro-gun stance has put her in good stead with the National Rifle Association. Torshin is a close friend of NRA President, David Keene.

The first direct interaction between Torshin and the National Rifle Association took place in May, 2013 when he traveled to Houston, Texas for the organization’s annual convention. Torshin wrote about his attendance some months later in the Washington Times, a pro-Trump media outlet.

Torshin’s Interface with Members of the Trump Family and Campaign

In security clearance application forms and subsequent congressional testimony, President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has repeatedly failed to fully disclose information regarding his contacts with Russian officials and business figures. Among those attempts to obfuscate and downplay interactions are apparent contacts–or attempted contacts-from Torshin.

At a National Rifle Association event held in Kentucky in May, 2016, President Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., apparently sat next to Torshin. According to statements from Trump Jr. released by spokespeople for the First Son, the content of his conversation was innocuous. Nevertheless, this represents yet one more interaction between a member of the Trump family or the Trump campaign and a prominent Russian with close ties to Putin. At this point and in light of a stream of undisclosed meetings, e-malls and exchanges between Russians and those counted among the President’s inner circle continue to elevate suspicion.

Never in the history of the United States have we seen such unprecedented levels of involvement between prominent people of a hostile power and those close to a sitting U.S. President.