By: Mike Mustiglione
A pair of businessmen reportedly linked to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s Ukraine investigations has been charged with campaign finance violations.
The Florida businessmen are said to have helped Giuliani in his work to spark a Ukraine investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden. They were arrested on charges of violating campaign finance laws, court papers explained.
Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were both charged in Manhattan federal court with conspiracy, making false statements to the Federal Election Commission and falsification of records, according to unsealed indictment.
The two “conspired to circumvent the federal laws against foreign influence by engaging in a scheme to defraud and funnel foreign money to candidates for federal and State office so that the defendants could buy potential influence with candidates, campaigns, and the candidates’ governments,” according to court papers.
Fox News said that Parnas and Fruman served as informal representatives in Ukraine for Giuliani.
“According to the indictment, the duo began holding political fundraising events starting in March 2018 and making “substantial” contributions to candidates and PACs,” according to the New York Post. “The duo made both a $325,000 contribution and a $15,000 contribution to two unnamed independent expenditure committees in May 2018, and falsely reported the contributions came from their LLC Global Energy Producers, a purported liquefied natural gas import-export business incorporated around the same time they made the donations.”
According to the court papers, “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 governmental official with whom they were working.”
Parnas and Fruman “have said they helped guide Giuliani’s attempts to connect with Ukrainian officials while the former New York mayor pressed to have Trump’s 2020 Democratic rival Joe Biden investigated,” vice.com reported. “House Democrats have sought testimony and documents from both men as part of the impeachment inquiry into Trump’s ties to Ukraine. The two men are expected to appear in federal court in Virginia later on Thursday, The Wall Street Journal reported, while saying the exact nature of the charges remains unclear.”
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,” noted Yahoo News.