Russian Pranksters Trick the Fed Chair, Based on Internet Videos

WASHINGTON — Pranksters posing as Ukraine’s president tricked Jerome H. Powell, the Federal Reserve chair, right into a dialog in January in regards to the U.S. and international economic system, based mostly on video clips coated on Russian state tv and posted on-line.

The footage exhibits Mr. Powell answering an interviewer’s questions on a video name, apparently pondering that he’s speaking to Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s chief. The ruse seems to have been carried out by Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexei Stolyarov, pranksters who’re supporters of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

The clips — now circulating on the web — have been earlier reported on by Bloomberg Information. They present Mr. Powell answering questions on central banking and inflation. His feedback seem like in keeping with what he repeatedly expresses in public.

A Fed spokesperson mentioned that Mr. Powell participated in a dialog in January with somebody who misrepresented himself because the Ukrainian president, noting that the dialogue befell within the context of the central financial institution’s assist for the Ukrainian folks. The spokesperson mentioned that no delicate or confidential data was mentioned.

The video seems to have been edited, and the Fed mentioned that it couldn’t verify its accuracy. The matter has been referred to legislation enforcement, the spokesperson mentioned.

The 2 males who carried out the prank have additionally tricked different international leaders, together with Christine Lagarde, the president of the European Central Financial institution, and Angela Merkel, Germany’s former chancellor.

An E.C.B. spokesperson mentioned that Ms. Lagarde had agreed to the dialog in good religion, and to point out assist for Ukraine and its folks.

The Fed-related video was posted on Rutube, a Russian video internet hosting platform, and coated by Russian state-run tv and information companies. Mr. Kuznetsov and Mr. Stolyarov posted excerpts from the decision on their social media web page, and devoted a particular episode of a present that they host to it.

The clips present Mr. Powell discussing numerous challenges dealing with the American economic system — together with speedy inflation and the potential of a recession. Within the clips, Mr. Powell acknowledges that an financial downturn is feasible and even probably, however that it’s crucial to chill the economic system and gradual worth will increase. That’s per what the Fed chair has mentioned in testimony and speeches.

Fed officers at the moment are of their pre-meeting quiet interval, throughout which officers keep away from talking publicly within the run-up to an rate of interest choice. They’ll meet subsequent week and launch a price choice on Could 3, after which Mr. Powell will maintain a information convention.

Oleg Matsnev contributed reporting from Berlin.

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