Giuliani associates arrested on campaign finance charges

Two associates of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani are in law enforcement custody and have been indicted on federal campaign finance charges for allegedly making fraudulent straw donations and funneling foreign money to support Trump and Republican Party candidates.

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who helped Giuliani investigate allegations against Joe Biden and his son Hunter, are accused of illegally funding American political campaigns. The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the arrests, said that Parnas and Fruman had donated to Trump’s campaign as well as a pro-Trump super PAC.

The charges emerged from the Southern District of New York, but a Justice Department spokesman said the duo would appear at the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia, at 2 p.m., before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael S. Nachmanoff.

The indictment alleges that Parnas and Fruman committed to raising more than $20,000 for a sitting U.S. congressman, and that Parnas “met with Congressman-1 and sought Congressman-1′s assistance in causing the U.S. Government to remove or recall the then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine.”

“Congressman-1” is former Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), who sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asking for Marie Yovanovitch to be removed as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine after his meeting with Parnas, according to the Texas Observer.

Parnas and Fruman are alleged to have concocted a straw donation scheme to hide their political contributions and give in excess of the campaign contribution limits.

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Rudy Giuliani and President Donald Trump through the years
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Rudy Giuliani and President Donald Trump through the years
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U.S. President Donald Trump listens to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani during a meeting with cyber security experts in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 31, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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U.S. President-elect Donald Trump greets former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani before their meeting at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, U.S., November 20, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani shakes hands with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S., August 18, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrive to speak to police gathered at Fraternal Order of Police lodge during a campaign event in Statesville, North Carolina, U.S., August 18, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (R) and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (2nd L) arrive for ceremonies to mark the 15th anniversary of the September 11 attacks at the National 9/11 Memorial in New York, New York, United States September 11, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump walks with former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (L) and his son Eric Trumo (R) through the new Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., U.S., September 16, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani shakes hands with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S., August 18, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
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Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani visit Allegra Print and Imaging in Fayetteville, North Carolina, U.S., August 9, 2016. REUTERS/Eric Thayer
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A $325,000 donation to the pro-Trump super PAC America First Action was made in the name of Global Energy Producers LLC, a shell corporation purporting to be engaged in the liquified natural gas business, according to the indictment.

Donations made to Republican Party candidates under Parnas’ name were actually funded by Fruman, prosecutors allege. It is illegal to make a campaign contribution in someone else’s name. These donations included maximum $2,700 contributions to Sessions and House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

Prosecutors say the illegal foreign donations made through Parnas and Fruman went to two Nevada state Republican Party politicians. State campaign finance records show the only two Nevada candidates to receive such contributions were gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt and attorney general candidate Wes Duncan. The Nevada contributions were allegedly made as part of a failed attempt to secure licenses for a legal cannabis business venture.

The foreign donor ― who is only identified as Foreign National-1 and described as a “Russian citizen and businessman” ― allegedly wanted to remain anonymous due to “his Russian roots and current political paranoia about it.”

The indictment also names businessmen David Correia and Andrey Kukushkin as defendants.

All four defendants are U.S. citizens. Parnas and Kukushkin were born in Ukraine, while Fruman was born in Belarus.

Read the indictment below.

 

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