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Press Release

Grand Jury Returns Indictment Charging FBI Confidential Human Source with Felony False Statement and Obstruction Crimes

For Immediate Release
Special Counsel David C. Weiss

Today, a federal court  unsealed a two-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in the Central District of California charging Alexander Smirnov, 43,  with making a false statement, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001, and creating a false and fictitious record, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1519, for statements he made that were recorded in an official record of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) known as a Form 1023. 

David C. Weiss, Special Counsel, made the announcement.

On February 14, 2024, a federal grand jury returned the indictment and Smirnov was arrested at the Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada, after his arrival in the U.S. from overseas.   Later today, Smirnov will have an initial appearance at the federal courthouse in the District of Nevada at 2:30 p.m. pacific time.

According to the indictment, Smirnov was a confidential human source (CHS) with the FBI.  As alleged in the indictment, despite repeated admonishments that he must provide truthful information to the FBI and that he must not fabricate evidence, Smirnov provided false derogatory information to the FBI about Public Official 1, and Businessperson 1, the son of Public Official 1, in 2020, after Public Official 1 became a presidential candidate. 

The indictment alleges that in March 2017, Smirnov reported to an FBI Agent that he had had a phone call with the owner of Ukrainian industrial conglomerate Burisma Holdings, Limited concerning Burisma’s interest in acquiring a U.S. company and making an initial public offering (IPO) on a U.S.-based stock exchange.  In reporting that conversation to the FBI Agent, Smirnov also noted that Businessperson 1, Public Official 1’s son, was a member of Burisma’s Board, a fact that was publicly known.  The indictment alleges that Smirnov provided no further information.

Three years later, in June 2020, the indictment alleges that Smirnov reported, for the first time, two meetings in 2015 and/or 2016.  As alleged in the indictment, Smirnov falsely claimed that during these meetings, executives associated with Burisma, admitted to him that they hired Businessperson 1 to “protect us, through his dad, from all kinds of problems,” and later that they had specifically paid $5 million each to Public Official 1 and Businessperson 1, when Public Official 1 was still in office, so that “[Businessperson 1] will take care of all those issues through his dad,” referring to a criminal investigation being conducted by the then-Ukrainian Prosecutor General into Burisma and to “deal with [the then-Ukrainian Prosecutor General].” 

As alleged in the indictment, the events that Smirnov first reported to the FBI Agent in June 2020 were fabrications.  In truth and fact, the defendant had contact with executives from Burisma in 2017, after the end of the administration when Public Official 1 had no ability to influence U.S. policy and after the Ukrainian Prosecutor General had been fired in February 2016. The indictment alleges that the defendant transformed his routine and unextraordinary business contacts with Burisma in 2017 and later into bribery allegations against Public Official 1 after expressing bias against Public Official 1 and his presidential candidacy.

As further alleged in the indictment, when he was interviewed by FBI agents in September 2023, Smirnov repeated some of his false claims, changed his story as to other of his claims, and promoted a new false narrative after he said he met with Russian officials.

If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Court documents and information for this case is located on the website of the District Court for the Central District of California or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:24-cr-00091.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime.  Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Updated February 15, 2024

Press Release Number: 24-182