Rudy Giuliani has been tied to two men indicted on federal campaign finance charges for allegedly funneling foreign money to support Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign.
Two foreign nationals, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, helped Giuliani press a baseless conspiracy theory against Joe Biden and his son Hunter in Ukraine.
They were arrested as they attempted to leave the country on charges they funneled tens of thousands of dollars to Trump’s campaign as well as a pro-Trump super PAC, according to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the arrests.
The newly unsealed indictment was filed in the Southern District of New York where the U.S. Attorney has been conducting the investigation into an alleged conspiracy to circumvent the federal laws against foreign influence” in U.S. elections, according to the charging documents.
The scheme allegedly involved funneling foreign money to candidates for federal and state office “so that the defendants could buy potential influence with the candidates, campaigns, and the candidates’ governments,” the documents state.
Fruman and Parnas schemed to donate money to an unidentified U.S. congressman, at the same time they were asking that congressman to get the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine removed from her job.
“Parnas’s efforts were undertaken, at least in part, at the request of “one or more Ukrainian government officials.”
John Dowd, a Washington lawyer with close ties to Republicans, could not be reached for comment.
Dowd wrote a letter to Congress this week stonewalling efforts to have Parnas and Fruman testify before a Congressional committee conducting an impeachment inquiry into Trump.
Their alleged influence peddling extended to a scheme hatched last year to make political donations secretly funded from an unidentified Russian businessman. The businessman hoped to traffic in retail marijuana licenses in Nevada and other states, according to court papers.
In Sept. 2018, Parnas, Fruman, and two other men met with the Russian in Las Vegas to discuss the venture, according to court papers. The businessman put up $1 million to get the ball rolling.
To fund the effort, the Russian businessman allegedly funneled $1 million to them. The four defendants “used those funds transferred by Foreign National-1, in part, to attempt to gain influence and the appearance of influence with politicians and candidates,” the indictment charges.
After an Oct. 2018 Nevada campaign rally, Parnas and Fruman donated $10,000 to a state candidate using the Russian’s money.
Parnas was part of an elite circle of Trump donors for giving $50,000 to Trump Victory, a joint fundraising committee with the Republican National Committee and local campaign committees, in 2016. A pro-Trump super PAC reported receiving $325,000 last year from a company the two men incorporated.
In May 2018, a Florida business established by Parnas received a $1.26 million wire transfer from an account whose owner was represented by a real estate lawyer who specializes in assisting foreign buyers of U.S. property, court documents and corporate filings show.
Trump has made millions of dollars selling Florida condominiums to foreign buyers under similar circumstances.
Six months later, the men began working with Giuliani on his bogus Biden investigation in Ukraine as well as unsubstantiated claims that Ukraine helped Democrats in the 2016 election.
House committees have asked Parnas and Fruman to turn over all documents and communications related to the donations and have sought depositions from both men. Democrats conspired with Ukrainians in the 2016 campaign.
The events coincided with the President’s unilateral decision to delay military assistance to the Ukrainian government. Trump sparked a whistleblower’s complaint when he allegedly pressured the Ukrainian government to dig up dirt on the Bidens in a July 25 phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Since late 2018, Parnas and Frumans have been assisting Giuliani’s effort to get Ukrainian officials to investigate Biden and his son, as well as Giuliani’s claim that Democrats conspired with Ukrainians in the 2016 campaign.
Giuliani has been working on the president’s behalf to counter the findings of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The Mueller investigation uncovered Russian influence in the 2016 election, but stopped short of accusing Trump, or his campaign, of criminal conspiracy.