Woman Accused Of Being Russian Spy Has SD Company

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The Russians meddling in United States politics–you hear about the topic on the national news on a regular basis. 

Now there are ties to South Dakota. 

A woman who formed a business in the state is charged with acting as a Russian agent in the U.S. 

Maria Butina is in the international spotlight for allegedly working under a high-level Russian government official to build ties and infiltrate U.S. political organizations. 

She also has a lot of connections to South Dakota. 

In 2016 Butina and Vermillion native Paul Erickson formed a limited liability company. It’s called Bridges LLC. 

Not a lot of public information is available about LLCs. KELOLAND News talked to a local attorney to find out why.

“It is fairly difficult to find out who owns a LLC,” Woods, Fuller, Shultz and Smith Attorney J.D. Arnett said.

The paperwork does say that Bridges’ purpose is including but not limited to a consulting company.

“The entities are not required to state what their business will be within their Articles of Organization,” Arnett said.

South Dakota is a popular place to form a LLC. That’s because it’s so easy. If you know what you’re doing, you can form one in just a few hours.

“Through our Secretary of State, if you have submitted the paperwork correctly, you can form a LLC the same day,” Arnett said.

The address listed for Bridges in the business filing is in an apartment complex near West 57th Street. KELOLAND News also checked with the Secretary of State’s office. Bridges LLC is listed as delinquent in its filings.

“The reason it’s difficult to find out who owns an LLC is because the statute that governs what is to be included in the Articles of Organization does not require us to say who the members of the LLC are. It only requires us to state who the managers of the LLC are,” Arnett said.

Now a local LLC manager is getting international attention.

If you would like to take a look at the information available about Bridges LLC, we’ve posted it here.

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