Maryland Probes Russian Oligarch’s Purchase of Election System Software

Maryland’s attorney general has opened an investigation into a Russian oligarch’s 2015 purchase of a software company that operates part of the state’s voter registration system, CBS Baltimore reports. Attorney general Brian Frosh was reportedly asked to launch a probe by Maryland state Senate President Thomas Mike Miller (D) and House Speaker Michael Busch (D), who revealed Friday that the FBI had briefed them earlier this week on Russian links to ByteGrid LLC, a software vendor that holds data on the state’s voters. The state had previously been unaware that nickel magnate Vladimir Potanin, a close ally of Russia’s Vladimir Putin, is directly linked to ByteGrid LLC through a private equity firm called AltPoint Capital Partners. Potanin is the largest investor of AltPoint Capital Partners, which finances ByteGrid LLC. Maryland authorities have said the FBI “did not indicate that there was a breach“ but they want to take extra precautions ahead of elections in November. “We don’t have any idea whether they meddled in any elections at all we just know that there’s Russian investment into the vendor system that we use to operate our elections,” Busch said.