The Giuliani associates arrested on USA campaign finances charges
Oct 11 2019
Dowd in a statement says his clients, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, "assisted Mr. Giuliani in connection with his representation of President Trump". 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 USA foreign policy decisions. The notorious oligarch returned from a long exile and immediately threatened and defamed two Americans, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman.
"I do know both these gentlemen [Fruman and Parnas]", Sessions told OCCRP. They are my clients and I have advised them to press charges. "Maybe you will have to ask Rudy". The subpoenas came hours after the two men were arrested for campaign finance violations.
Foreign nationals are barred from contributing to United States election campaigns. The two men made illegal contributions using straw donors, according to the indictment.
"Foreign National-1" is alleged to have given Parnas and Fruman $1 million in two $500,000 installments, in September 2018 and October 2018.
"Parnas and Fruman, who had no significant prior history of political donations, sought to advance their personal financial interests and the political interests of at least one Ukrainian government official with whom they were working", the indictment reads.
They created a limited liability corporation, Global Energy Producers [GEP], and "intentionally caused certain large contributions to be reported in the name of GEP instead of in their own names", according to the indictment.
Records show that Parnas and Fruman used wire transfers from a corporate entity they controlled to make a $325,000 donation to the America First Action committee in 2018.
Harry Litman, a former US attorney and current Washington Post columnist, tweeted that "to a prosecutor's eye, this really looks increasingly like one big scheme, overseen by Trump and Giuliani, to obtain illegal assistance from Ukraine in the 2020 election".
Giuliani has pressured Ukrainian officials to investigate Joe Biden's efforts to oust a former Ukrainian prosecutor general as vice president, alleging without evidence that the prosecutor general was investigating a Ukrainian gas firm with ties to Hunter Biden.
As a result of the donations, Parnas and Fruman had meetings with the congressman and Parnas lobbied him to advocate for removing the ambassador to Ukraine, Berman said.
"Parnas's efforts to remove the ambassador were conducted at least in part at the request of one or more Ukrainian government officials", the indictment said. Rick Scott (R-FL), the National Republican Congressional Committee, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), according to the WSJ.
Trump has openly admitted to seeking the removal of the ambassador, calling her "bad news".
Berman served on Trump's transition team after Trump was elected president to prepare for taking office in January 2017. He says he'll vigorously defend himself against any allegation of wrongdoing. House Democrats on Thursday issued subpoenas for the men to hand over the documents and testify at a later date.
"The president of the Ukraine just stated again, in the strongest of language, that President Trump applied no pressure and did absolutely nothing wrong", Trump tweeted Thursday.