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Report: Russian Pranksters Trick Fed Chair Jerome Powell into Interview

A pair of Russian pranksters famous for their hoax calls posed as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and tricked U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell into sharing a call with them, a report Thursday claims.

According to video shown on Russian state television Powell was tricked into answering questions on topics ranging from the outlook for inflation to the Russian central bank., Bloomberg reports.

There were several clips lasting about 15 minutes and it’s unclear if the footage was altered.

A Fed spokesperson has since acknowledged the exchange, saying:

Chair Powell participated in a conversation in January with someone who misrepresented himself as the Ukrainian president.

It was a friendly conversation and took place in a context of our standing in support of the Ukrainian people in this challenging time. No sensitive or confidential information was discussed.

Bloomberg further reports the spokesperson added “the matter has been referred to appropriate law enforcement, and out of respect for their efforts, we won’t be commenting further.”

The Fed also said the video appears to have been edited and cannot confirm it is accurate.

The Russian pranksters – Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexei Stolyarov, go by the nicknames Vovan and Lexus.

They have succeeded many times over the years in tricking foreign politicians and public figures into talking to them despite their sometimes-crude impersonations and lack of diplomatic guile.

The UK said it believed the Kremlin was behind a hoax call to then Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson perpetrated by the comedic duo.

The two were blamed for a similar trick on French President Emmanuel Macron as well as former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Elton John.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) was also duped into a call in 2017 with the top House Democrat asked to furnish “kompromat”– compromising dirt – on then President Donald Trump, as Breitbart News reported.


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