Bronx, NY—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today released the following statement calling on the Trump Administration to protect the U.S. judiciary, and the judicial systems of its democratic allies, from corrupt and abusive infiltration by agents of the Russian Federation.

“While Russia’s election interference efforts in United States and in Europe have been well documented, it is also actively seeking to meddle with other democratic institutions, including judicial systems to silence critics and undermine those that it sees as threatening to the Kremlin’s corrupt and selfish interests. I am especially concerned by reports that Russians sanctioned for human rights crimes under the Magnitsky Act are infiltrating judicial proceedings in democratic countries around the world for this purpose and also to target associates of the recently poisoned Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny.

“Particularly troubling is Russia’s targeting of Sergey Leontiev, who coordinated financing efforts for Mr. Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation. Russia has continued to abuse the INTERPOL Red Notice system and has manipulated judicial proceedings in Lichtenstein and elsewhere in order to target Mr. Leontiev and other associates of Mr. Navalny or his opposition movement. We must not allow Russian kleptocracy and corruption to serve the Kremlin’s interests by undermining the rule of law in our European allies and partners and I worry that the President’s failure to stand up to Russia and Putin may leave our own judicial system vulnerable to the same corrupt purposes.”