“Starting in 2015 I (operating under the belief that I was helping legitimate law enforcement efforts) assisted in what are now known as the ‘Clinton Investigation’ and the ‘Russian Investigation’ (in fact, I am the notorious ‘missing Chapter 1’ of the Russian investigation),” Byrne said in the statement.
The investigation, he says, “turned out to be less about law enforcement and more about political espionage conducted against Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump (and, to a lesser degree, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz).”
The statement cited interviews Byrne gave to reporter and Fox News contributor Sara Carter, which were quoted on articles on Carter’s personal website.
Byrne, who in the statement declined to comment further, reportedly told Carter that he had an “intimate relationship” with Maria Butina, who pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to act as an unregistered foreign agent. Butina, who headed a Russian gun rights group, allegedly worked at the direction of a Russian official to build ties between the Russian government and U.S. conservative organizations like the National Rifle Association.
The Overstock CEO reportedly told Carter that he expressed concern about Butina’s activities to the FBI at various points but also warned her that she might run afoul of U.S. law enforcement. In the statement, he said he “confirmed Ms. Carter’s two articles.”
Overstock didn’t immediately respond to an inquiry from Fast Company.
Byrne has long been an outspoken CEO, known in the past for his attacks on short sellers targeting the company’s price and his advocacy for blockchain technology as a potential boon to financial freedom.