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Unveiling Evan Neumann: One of The Most Wanted Capitol Rioters and His Peculiar Ties to Russia

Photo Credit: TapTheForwardAssist, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

On November 20, 2021, RT, (Russian-state media) interviewed Capitol Rioter Evan Neumann. Neumann, 49, is facing fourteen criminal counts for his involvement on January 6, 2021, in the Capitol Riots, the most severe among them — assaulting a police officer, engaging in physical violence on restricted grounds, and obstruction of law enforcement. [1]  

While most individuals who were arrested for their actions on January 6, 2021, remained in the U.S., Neumann instead fled to Eastern Europe. Mr. Neumann gave his interview to RT [2] while in Belarus, a dictatorship in Eastern Europe that does not have an extradition treaty with the U.S. Mr. Neumann also interviewed with Belarusian-state TV and shared more details about being on the run. 

According to Neumann, he “traveled by train to Switzerland, boarded a car and left for Germany, then Poland, and by March 13, he was in Zhytomyr, Ukraine.” However, Mr. Neumann’s time in Ukraine was short-lived, claiming he spotted surveillance from the SBU (Ukrainian Intelligence), and from there, he decided to leave Ukraine for Belarus. 

Considering Mr. Neumann’s unusual behavior following the Capitol Riots and appearance on Russian and Belarusian state media, our analysts chose to investigate him further. The purpose of our investigation was to see if Mr. Neumann had any possible connections to Russia and, if possible, gather more information about his actions and motives on January 6, 2021. 

Investigative research on Mr. Neumann determined that he does have business interests in Russia and Ukraine. Additionally, several years before the riots, he openly considered how he would illegally hide his money if he were to find himself in a situation where his finances were under threat. 

According to public records, Mr. Neumann started multiple businesses in the past, with only one currently active. The company, Aslaen Vaugn, makes custom high-end handbags. [3] Research into Aslaen Vaugn shows that their handbags appeared at a fashion show in Moscow at the Wheel of Time Restaurant on September 14, 2020. [4] Anastasia, a New York-based fashion magazine, sponsored the event. High-profile Russian military officers and recipients of the Hero of the Russian Federation – Major General Sergei Anatolyevich Lipovoi and Andrey Nikolaevich Zvyagintsev, were at the event.  

The CEO of Anastasia is Ksenia Bychenkova, a California-based model. According to Mr. Neumann’s Venmo history, he paid Ms. Bychenkova for “social media services.” Ms. Bychenkova goes by the alias, Anastasia Xena, on her Instagram profiles. [5] Analysts could not determine anything further about the relationship between Mr. Neumann and Ms. Bychenkova or her possible connections to Russian military officers.

Our investigative team also discovered that Mr. Neumann’s handbags are sold in-store in Ukraine called One Shot. [6] On November 3, 2021, One Shot posted a photo of an Aslaen Vaugn handbag. However, the shop in Ukraine is not listed as one of the retail locations for Aslaen Vaugn products on its company website. [7]

Mr. Neumann’s history with Eastern Europe goes back even further. According to open-source research, Mr. Neumann lived in “Dresden, when it was still East Germany, Munich, Vorarlberg, Austria, Prague, Moscow, and Kyiv.” [8] Additionally, Mr. Neumann’s Etsy account details how he is a self-described “mad-scientist” who had informal tech training in Moscow in 1992. [9] 

Continuing research Mr. Neumann provided additional details about his interests/behaviors. In an interview with Designers [10], Mr. Neumann discusses how he likes to make bombs as a hobby. Further, in response to a 2015 online post from an unidentified person going through potential financial ruin, Mr. Neumann offers advice on how to cover his financial tracks. Under his alias, Jsalathe, Mr. Neumann commented, “Borrow against your properties and siphon that off too, but to cash, not a bank or investment account. You can start putting some in offshore accounts like the Cayman Islands or Switzerland. The problem here is that it is illegal and has the potential for prison if a trail is found. If you do this, take cash on the plane, no wire transfers.” [11] The comment from Mr. Neumann suggests a possible motive for his travels to Switzerland after fleeing to the United States.

Mr. Neumann’s actions at the U.S. Capitol are well-documented, with bodycam footage showing him beginning to harass police officers at 1:45 PM EST. At 1:55 PM EST, Mr. Neumann says, “I am willing to die, are you?” Soon after, Neumann uses the bike rack barricade line at the base of the West Front of the Capitol building as a weapon to push back against police, assaulting them. He is joined by other rioters who are then able to break the police line at or around 1:57 PM EST. While Neumann’s actions at the bike rack barricade led to others joining him to attack law enforcement, it remains unclear if he had any connections to the others who joined in on the assault.

Mr. Neumann is currently one of the FBI’s Most Wanted in relation to the Capitol Riots. In interviews with Russian and Belarusian media, Mr. Neumann says that Capitol rioters are “treated in Guantanamo-like conditions [12], that he doesn’t see why “Russia is an enemy,” and that he wanted to flee to a country that is “tough on the West.”

After the Capitol Riots, Mr. Neumann sold his California home, where he lived for several years. With the lower standard of living in a country like Belarus and other less-developed areas of Eastern Europe, Mr. Neumann may be using the money to support himself for an extended period of time.

In addition, Mr. Neumann went to great lengths to scrub his digital footprint. Our analysts identified his most significant posts from his online alias through reviewing archived and deleted data.

ASSESSMENT

Overall, Mr. Neumann’s actions and behaviors warrant significant concern. While we couldn’t assess any other information about his history with Russia, his background of living in the country, business interests and Russian connections, pro-Russian attitudes, and tradecraft used to reach Belarus, could suggest more than criminal behavior with Mr. Neumann. Russian intelligence wouldn’t see Mr. Neumann as a high-level asset, but with his multiple appearances on Russian state media and long history in Eastern Europe, they could see him as a propaganda tool to push disinformation about the Capitol Riots and anti-American narratives.

 

[1] Case 1:21-mj-00331, United States of America V. Evan Neumann, United States District Court for the District of Columbia, 3/23/2021, https://www.justice.gov/usao-dc/case-multi-defendant/file/1411351/download

[2] From Capitol Riot to Belarus, YouTube, uploaded by RT, 20 November 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_ttH7XXJiM

[3] Open Corporates, Aslaen Vaugn, LLC, Registered Agent, Evan Neumann, https://opencorporates.com/companies/us_ca/201932310540

[4] Presentation of the New York Magazine about High Fashion, 14 September 2020, https://karachenkov.ru/press-tsentr/informatsionnye-stati/prezentatsiya-nyu-jorkskogo-zhurnala-o-vysokoj-mode/

[5] AnastasiaXena, Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/anastasiaxena/

[6] One_Shot_Resale_Shop_Instagram, 3 November 2021, https://www.instagram.com/p/CVzgAyrKG7S/

[7] Aslaen Vagun, Store Locator, https://aslaenvaugn.com/pages/store-locator

[8] A’Design Award and Competition, Designs Interview with Evan Neumann, https://competition.adesignaward.com/legends-interview.php?profile=262535

[9] Etsy, Jsalathe, https://www.etsy.com/people/jsalathe

[10] Designers, Interview with Evan Neumann, http://designers.org/profile.php?ID=262535

[11] Forums.red, Wife cheating – Is it Worth a Divorce?, https://www.forums.red/p/AskTRP/2201/wife_cheating_is_it_worth_a_divorce/222299

[12] An American who fled to Belarus spoke about the “home Guantanamo” in the USA, 13 November 2021, https://www.ntv.ru/novosti/2633422/

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