Putin Denies Knowledge of Alleged Russian Spy Maria Butina

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that his intelligence chiefs know nothing of alleged Russian spy Maria Butina. Reuters reports Putin told reporters in Moscow that he did not understand why Butina had been detained in the United States. “She risks 15 years in jail. For what?” Putin said. “I asked all the heads of our intelligence services what is going on. Nobody knows anything about her.” Butina was detained in the U.S. on suspicion of trying to infiltrate the National Rifle Association and influence national policy toward Russia. She is expected to plead guilty this week following a brokered deal between her lawyers and U.S. prosecutors, according to court filings on Monday seen by The Daily Beast. Putin’s comments fly in the face of reports of frequent visits to the detained Butina by Russian diplomatic personnel.