World

WASHINGTON – A Russian woman has been sanctioned by Barack Obama for supposedly helping Vladimir Putin to interfere in the US election.

Alisa Shevchenko is a skilled hacker employed by big businesses to track down weaknesses in their online security.

Her company was a surprise inclusion on a sanctions list released by the US government last week amid paranoia over alleged Russian meddling in Donald Trump’s presidential election win, the Daily Mail reports.

The only information on the fact sheet said that the company – named ZOR – provided the Russian Federation’s foreign intelligence service ‘with technical research and development’.

However, she hit back at the company’s inclusion on the list, claiming she had never knowingly carried out work for the Russian government.

In encrypted emails to The Guardian, the hacker claimed the White House may have been tricked by “counterfeit in order to frame my company” or had simply “misinterpreted the facts”.

Shevchenko said: “A young female hacker and her helpless company seems like a perfect pick for that goal. I don’t try to hide, I travel a lot, and am a friendly communicative person.

“And most importantly, I don’t have any big money, power or connections behind me to shrug off the blame. So really, it could be anyone.”

She also mocked the “insane level of hysteria around the entire ‘Russian hacking’ story”.

Donald Trump has ignored an intelligence report claiming Vladimir Putin influenced the election to help him win.

Trump insisted Russian hacking had “no effect” on the outcome of the race for the White House and dismissed suggestions voting machines had been tampered with.