Published: Sun, August 25, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

Overstock CEO resigns over relationship with Russian 'spy'

Overstock CEO resigns over relationship with Russian 'spy'

Byrne said in recent interviews he helped the FBI investigate accused Russian agent Maria Butina, with whom he had an intimate relationship.

Byrne went on to say that Overstock should continue to push farther with blockchain technology. Byrne resigned yesterday after 20 years leading the company.

"Though patriotic Americans are writing me in support, my presence may affect and complicate all manner of business relationships", he said.

That saga brought Byrne to Thursday, when he said his political pronouncements would hurt Overstock if he stayed on board. According to Driscoll, Byrne had reported on multiple occasions to the Federal Bureau of Investigation that "Maria's behavior and interaction with him was inconsistent with her being a foreign agent and more likely an idealist and age-appropriate peace activist". And he took Overstock.com public in 2002 using a Dutch Auction IPO process, at the time, being one of the first companies to do so.

Johnson, who has been with the company for 17 years, also serves as the president of Medici Ventures, the Overstock subsidiary that focuses on blockchain innovation. He told the New York Times he had hoped to draw attention to what he saw as problems in the way law enforcement handled Butina's case.

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In interviews on Fox News, Fox Business Network and CNN Thursday, Byrne told his complicated story, casting himself as a lowly security clearance holder who provided information on alleged Russian agent Maria Butina, with whom he said he had a relationship.

Byrne is referring to the fact that earlier this month, he admitted in a press release that starting in 2015, he "assisted in what are known as the "Clinton Investigation" and the "Russian Investigation"," which apparently turned out to be "political espionage" done against Hillary Clinton and U.S. President Donald Trump. "Instead, having lived in places lacking Rule of Law and having witnessed the consequences of its absence, I plan on sitting back and watching the United States Department of Justice re-establish [emphasis his] Rule of Law in our country". "I immediately (last July) came forward to a Congressman and a senior military officer, to the Department of Justice this April, and (upon my Omaha Rabbi reminding me of my duty as a citizen late this June) to a small set of journalists this summer".

Wearing a red "Make America Grateful Again" hat - a nod to the Grateful Dead and the "flag-waving hippie" Jerry Garcia, he said - Byrne ran through his relationship with a cast of characters painted as Russian Federation probe villains by those on the right. She now writes about blockchain, cryptocurrencies and business news.

Overstock.com based in Midvale, Utah, named company veteran and board member Jonathan E. Johnson III as interim CEO.

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