Home / World / Businessmen in Florida who assisted Giuliani in Ukraine were arrested on campaign finance charges

Businessmen in Florida who assisted Giuliani in Ukraine were arrested on campaign finance charges



Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas, two foreign-born donors who donated money to a political action committee that supported President Donald Trump, were arrested Wednesday night and face charges related to campaign finance violations, two law enforcement officials confirmed to NBC News.

The couple is expected to appear in federal court Thursday.

Fruman and Parnas worked with Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer, Giuliani has previously said, as part of his business in Ukraine that involved efforts to encourage the nation to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. Parnas are Ukrainian, while Fruman is Belarusian, according to the indictment that was not concluded Thursday.

The Wall Street Journal first reported on the arrests.

According to the indictment, filed in New York's Southern District, two men, along with other defendants David Correia and Andrey Kukushkin, "conspired to circumvent federal laws against foreign influence by participating in a system to funnel foreign money to candidates for federal and state offices so that the defendants could buy potential influence with candidates, campaigns and candidate governments. "

The prosecution describes an elaborate system for concealing the real source of political donations through the use of secret agreements, companies with limited responsibility and straw donor.

Defendants tricked "the candidates, campaigns, federal regulators and the public by entering into secret agreements, laundering foreign money through bank accounts in the name of limited liability companies, and by using straw donors … who were alleged to be making legal campaign contributions in their own names, rather than the name of the fund's actual source, "according to the document.

Two senior law enforcement officials told NBC News that Parnas and Fruman were arrested at Dulles Airport in Washington, DC on Wednesday. The two were scheduled to depart on a flight that would have taken them outside the United States, sources said. Their exact destination was not immediately known. Kukushkin was arrested in San Francisco on Wednesday. The status of the fourth person's charges in the system, Correia, is not immediately known.

The Trump campaign refused to comment on NBC News, while John Dowd, a lawyer for the two men, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News. Reached by NBC News, Giuliani said he could not comment yet.

Rudy Giuliani has coffee with Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, September 20, 2019. Aram Roston / Reuters [19659012] Fruman and Parnas are accused of making $ 325,000 in illegal straw donations to a Trump super PAC, according to the indictment, as well as giving $ 15,000 to a second committee.

In May 2018, the two men gave $ 325,000 to pros-Trump super PAC American First Action via an LLC, the group confirmed to NBC News.

"Accordingly, America First Action placed this contribution in a segregated bank account, it has not been used for any purpose and the funds will remain in this segregated account until these issues are resolved," said a PAC spokesman. legal obligations seriously and strictly follow the law and all proposals are otherwise false. "

From left Donald Trump, Jr., Tommy Hicks, Jr., Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. The Legal Center Campaign via AP

House committees involved in the recently launched impeachment investigation sought documents and depositions from the Parnas and Fruman, and were asked to appear before the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Supervision Committees on Thursday, while Fruman was asked to appear on Friday.

Dowd said earlier this week that the men would not comply with the request for documents or testimonies.

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Monica Alba contributed.


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