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packing up Overstock CEO resigns after divulging romantic relationship with Russian agent Maria Butina
August 22, 2019
Reuters Staff

The CEO of Overstock has resigned after divulging having been in a romantic relationship with convicted unregistered Russian agent Maria Butina and in a strange press release commenting on the "deep state."

Patrick Byrne in a letter to shareholders on Thursday said that he is in the "sad position of having to sever ties" with the company effective today, although he contends that "I did what was necessary for the good of the country," The New York Times reports.

Byrne referring to the fact that earlier this month, he said in a press release with the title "Overstock.com CEO Comments on Deep State, Withholds Further Comment" that he "assisted in what are now known as the 'Clinton Investigation' and the 'Russian Investigation,'" which "turned out to be ... political espionage conducted against Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump." In the bizarre statement, he also refers to FBI agents as the "Men in Black."

Byrne and his lawyer later spoke to The New York Times and clarified that he was talking about the fact that he dated Butina and spoke with the FBI during its investigation. He alleged in this interview that the investigation was mishandled and said that he is still "quite fond" of Butina, who pled guilty to acting as an unregistered foreign agent and is serving 18 months in prison. "Maria should go home and be president of Russia one day," Byrne told the Times.

In his Thursday announcement, Byrne says he spoke about this publicly after "I was reminded of the damage done to our nation for three years and felt my duty as a citizen precluded me from staying silent any longer." Now, he plans on "disappearing for some time." Following Byrne's announcement, CNN reports Overstock stock surged more than 10 percent. Brendan Morrow