Russia’s Foreign Ministry has accused BuzzFeed of being a “tool of American intelligence services” after the news organization published an article about suspicious financial transactions involving Russian diplomats.
The media outlet reported this week that U.S. officials had flagged hundreds of suspicious Russian Embassy bank transfers over the past decade. Last November, Russia’s Foreign Ministry accused BuzzFeed of falsely claiming that Russian diplomatic transfers were part of an alleged campaign of interference in the U.S. presidential election.
The ministry said that Buzzfeed had accessed and leaked the private banking information of embassy employees to the public, in a strongly worded statement published on its website Thursday.
“This is no longer simply a matter of ‘fake news,’ but a real crime,” it said in the statement.
The ministry called on Washington to bring the alleged leakers to justice, “including those who occupy corresponding positions in the American state apparatus.”
According to the ministry statement, Buzzfeed journalists could not have accessed the private banking information of employees without the knowledge of U.S. government agencies.
On Thursday, Mittenthal maintained that attacks from governments are “par for the course if you’re doing good journalism.”
“But this is a first: No one has accused us of being an instrument of the Trump administration before,” he said.