Florida Men Tied To Giuliani Arrested On Campaign Charges

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This picture provided by The Campaign Legal Center shows, from left, Donald Trump Jr., Tommy Hicks Jr., Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, posted on May 21, 2018. Parnas and Fruman were arrested on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, on campaign finance violations resulting from a donation to a political action committee supporting President Donald Trump's reelection. (The Campaign Legal Center via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two businessmen tied to efforts by President Donald Trump’s lawyer to get Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son were charged Thursday with campaign finance violations in the U.S. The charges relate to a $325,000 donation to a political action committee supporting Trump’s reelection.

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, associates of Rudy Giuliani, were arrested on a four-count indictment that includes charges of conspiracy, making false statements to the Federal Election Commission and falsification of records. The men had key roles in Giuliani’s efforts to launch a Ukrainian corruption investigation against Biden and his son, Hunter .

The indictments mark the first criminal charges related to the Ukraine controversy. While they do not suggest wrongdoing by the president, they are likely to add fuel to the House impeachment inquiry, raising additional questions about whether those close to Trump and Giuliani sought to use their influence to affect U.S. foreign policy decisions.

Trump has dismissed the impeachment inquiry as baseless and politically motivated.

Records show that Parnas and Fruman used wire transfers from a corporate entity they controlled to make the $325,000 donation to the America First Action committee in 2018. But wire transfer records that became public through a lawsuit show that the corporate entity reported as making the transaction was not the true source of the money.

Prosecutors also allege that Parnas urged a U.S. congressman to seek the ouster of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, at the behest of Ukrainian government officials. That happened about the same time that Parnas and Fruman committed to raising more than $20,000 for the politician.

The congressman wasn’t identified by name in court papers, but the donations to “Congressman 1” in the indictment match campaign finance reports for former Rep. Pete Sessions, a Texas Republican who lost his re-election bid in November 2018. In May 2018, Parnas posted a photo of himself and his business partner Correia with Sessions in his Capitol Hill office, with the caption “Hard at work !!”

John Dowd, an attorney for the men, hung up on an Associated Press reporter calling about the case. Giuliani said he couldn’t comment on the case and that he didn’t represent them in campaign finance matters.

The men, who were arrested at Dulles International Airport and booked at a local jail in Alexandria, Virginia, late Wednesday night, were expected to appear in federal court. Two other men, David Correia, a U.S. businessman, and Andrew Kukushkin, a Ukrainian-born U.S. citizen, were also charged in the case.

The indictment says Parnas and Fruman “sought to advance their personal financial interests and the political interests of at least one Ukrainian government official with whom they were working” and took steps to conceal it from third parties, including creditors. They created a limited liability corporation, Global Energy Producers, and “intentionally caused certain large contributions to be reported in the name of GEP instead of in their own names,” according to the indictment.

Prosecutors charge that the two men falsely claimed the contributions came from GEP, which was described as a liquefied natural gas business. At that point, the company had no income or significant assets, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors allege that Parnas and Fruman conspired to make illegal contributions in an effort to skirt the limit on federal campaign contributions. The men are also accused of making contributions to candidates for state and federal office, joint fundraising committees and independent expenditure committees in the names of other people.

The political donations were made “for the purpose of gaining influence with politicians, so as to advance their own personal financial interests and the political interests of Ukrainian government officials, including at least one Ukrainian government official with whom they were working,” the indictment charges.

The commitment to raise more than $20,000 for the congressman was made in May and June 2018. The lawmaker had also received about $3 million in independent expenditures from a super political action committee that Parnas and Fruman had been funding. A super PAC can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money in support of a candidate but isn’t allowed to directly coordinate with the official campaign.

The indictment also charges that Kukushkin conspired with the three other defendants to make political contributions, funded by a foreign national, to politicians seeking state and federal office “to gain influence with candidates as to policies that would benefit a future business venture.”

An unnamed foreigner wired $500,000 from a bank account overseas through New York to the defendants for political contributions to two political candidates for state office in Nevada, the indictment alleges. Foreigners are not permitted to contribute to U.S. elections.

The indictment accuses the four men of also participating in a scheme to acquire retail marijuana licenses through donations to local and federal politicians in New York, Nevada and other states. In September of last year, the indictment says, Correia drafted a table of political contributions and donations that was subsequently circulated to the defendants and an unidentified foreign national.

The big PAC donation in May 2018 was part of a flurry of political spending tied to Parnas and Fruman, with at least $478,000 in donations flowing to GOP campaigns and PACs in little more than two months.

The money enabled the relatively unknown entrepreneurs to quickly gain access to the highest levels of the Republican Party, including face-to-face meetings with Trump at the White House and Mar-a-Lago in Florida.

America First Action said the $325,000 contribution would remain in a separate account while the court cases play out. A spokeswoman, Kelly Sadler, said the committee will “scrupulously comply with the law.”

The AP reported last week that Parnas and Fruman helped arrange a January meeting in New York between Ukraine’s former top prosecutor, Yuri Lutsenko, and Giuliani, as well as other meetings with top government officials.

Giuliani’s efforts to launch a Ukrainian corruption investigation were echoed by Trump in his July 25 call with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy. That conversation is now at the heart of the impeachment inquiry .

House Democrats subpoenaed Parnas and Fruman on Thursday for documents they have so far refused to produce to three House committees. The panels have also subpoenaed Giuliani.

A whistleblower complaint by an unnamed intelligence official makes reference to “associates” of Giuliani in Ukraine who were attempting to make contact with Zelenskiy’s team, though it’s not clear that refers to Parnas and Fruman. That could put the two men squarely in the middle of the investigation into Giuliani’s activities.

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13 COMMENTS

    • Barr met with Murdoch, the owner of Fox News yesterday in NYC. Could he be speaking to Murdoch because Trump complained that Fox is no longer on his side?

  1. These 2 Ukrainian Jewish goniffs in w Crazy Uncle Rudy have left a trail of ripoffs, debts and unpaid fees throughout southern Florida. Check out Miami Herald story on them. They illegally funneled the $$$ to Trump, GOP PACS and as fees to Rumpled Rudy. These two are another stick of dynamite for Tattered Trump.

  2. Rudy the mayor of America was there for us when we needed him most. Rudy is and will always be our hero . Let’s hope these nonsense gottcha crimes on these yidden go away or trump pardons them. And Rudy for president in 2024 after Trump . Rudy continue doing the great work . All of a sudden it’s a crime to represent the president. Every shvontz and terrorist in gitmo has a nice Jewish lawyer but when trump gets a lawyer oh that lawyer must be a bad guy.

    You liberals are a bunch of hypocrites

    • Archy, as I’ve told you countless times the Rudy of today is far different than the Rudy you remember from 2001, Rudy has spent recent years working for Ukrainian and Turkish criminals and for America’s Liar in Chief who is soon to be impeached.
      I can’t imagine that the personal lawyer who appears crazy and represented the impeached President has a shot at the White House. I suspect that soon Rudy will be in the big house wearing an orange jumpsuit. The good news for him is that he may avoid paying alimony to wife #3 Judy Nathan while serving hios sentence.

  3. I can’t understand to this date, why Archie Bunker likes Rudy so much. I can’t stand the man, not because of Trump, but because I think that he is a phony. There is no way now that he could run for President. Yes, I like the way that he cleaned up NYC, and got rid of the vagrants and bums. However, what exactly did he do following 9/11/01, which made him so great? Was it because he showed his face on a tv camera, walking around Ground Zero? His ex-wives can’t stand him, as they have first hand knowledge of what a lying phony he is.

    • Because Archy, our little populist “Yoni is everywhere” know nothing who thinks each of the cascading misdeeds of his idol and his hit-men amount to “nonsense gottcha crimes,” is beyond reason.

      More importantly, he is the kind of unthinking, dangerous demagogue supporting apologist who has supported tyrants throughout history. He surrendered his intellect to Trumpism long ago.

      But worry not, when the revolution comes….we’ll get him! 😉

      Yoni

      • Wow, Yonasan winking at the notion that “we’ll get him” “when the revolution comes.” Rubbing his hands in glee that he’ll get to line people up against the wall and shoot them – exactly like his heroes, the Yevsektzia. But let’s remember that they themselves ended up having their turn against the wall too.

          • Intimidated? Nah. The brave Jews of the Soviet Union were realistic, and knew well that at any moment the Cheka/NKVD/KGB, and their Jewish enablers, could come for them. But they weren’t intimidated, and neither should we be.

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