Thursday, 17 October, 2019

Florida men tied to Giuliani arrested on campaign charges

Two Giuliani associates linked to Ukraine investigations indicted on campaign finance charges Trump donors charged in campaign finance case
Deanna Wagner | 11 October, 2019, 04:29

The indictment does not make any specific mention of Giuliani but refers to efforts to remove the United States ambassador to Ukraine, something the former NY mayor was involved in.

"They are not exempted from this requirement merely because they happen to work with Mr. Giuliani and they may not defy congressional subpoenas merely because President Trump has chosen the path of denial, defiance and obstruction", they said.

Correia and Andrew Kukushkin, a Ukrainian-born USA citizen, were also charged in the case. The two men were arrested in relation to a campaign finance investigation on charges that include conspiracy, falsifying records, and falsifying records to the FEC. They made an initial appearance in court Thursday afternoon in Virginia. That PAC spent heavily in 2018 to support Sessions, over $3 million dollars, but he went on to lose his seat.

Part of the alleged scheme revolved around an effort to curry favor with politicians who could help them win licenses for a retail marijuana business they hoped to establish.

John Dowd, the lawyer for Mr Parnas and Mr Fruman, declined to comment on the charges.

For senior officials engaging with foreign leaders or who are involved with top-level foreign policy decisions, the reports are available to the public via the U.S. Office of Government Ethics.

The indictments are semi-connected to an impeachment investigation by House Democrats trying to determine whether Trump threatened to withhold military aid to Ukraine in exchange for action against the Bidens.

Federal Magistrate Judge Michael Nachmanoff imposed a lengthy, strict set of conditions that Mr Parnas and Mr Fruman must meet to be released including each posting $US1 million bond and being placed on Global Positioning System monitoring in home detention. Parnas was Giuliani's fixer in Ukraine, introducing him to current and former officials as far back as 2018, CNN has reported.

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The indictment also lays out how they donated $325,000 dollars to a pro-Trump super PAC, America First Action, around this same time through a limited-liability company allegedly created for the goal of masking the true source of their campaign contributions.

The associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, reportedly helped Giuliani in his efforts to investigate the origin of the Russian Federation investigation. Trump eventually did remove Yovanovitch and called her "bad news" in his July 25 call with Zelenskiy.

Prosecutors said Mr Parnas and Mr Fruman conspired to contribute foreign money, including at least $1 million from an unidentified Russian businessman, to candidates for federal and state offices to buy influence. At that point, the company had no income or significant assets, according to the indictment.

Their lawyer said they would not comply, in line with a White House decision to block all cooperation with the House impeachment inquiry.

Jay Sekulow, a lawyer for the president, told Reuters that " neither the president nor the campaign was aware of their scheme", referring to the defendants.

Photos from Parnas' social media accounts show him meeting on various occasions with Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr., Sessions, Republican congressman Kevin Brady and former congressman Carlos Curbelo.

"I do know both these gentlemen [Fruman and Parnas]", Sessions told OCCRP.

He said he gave the money to America First Action committee because "we are huge supporters of the president".