Four Giuliani Business Associates Arrested On Campaign Finance Charges

(Updated: 2:40 p.m. EST, 10/19/2019)

Topline: Four of Rudy Giuliani’s business associates linked to the Ukraine scandal were arrested Wednesday night and charged with allegedly funneling foreign money into U.S. elections in order to buy influence in politics at home, Ukraine and elsewhere.

  • Two of the men, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were arrested at Washington Dulles International Airport while attempting to leave the country, and are expected to appear before a Virginia federal court Thursday.
  • Parnas and Fruman were allegedly “using straw donors” and “broke the law to gain political influence while avoiding disclosure of who was actually making the donations,” said U.S. attorney Geoffrey Berman during a Thursday press conference.
  • According to the indictment, the men allegedly engaged “in a scheme to funnel 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.”
  • Prosecutors also alleged that the two men schemed to raise $20,000 for a “then-sitting U.S. Congressman” who had “been the beneficiary of approximately $3 million” from super PAC America First Action during the 2018 midterms, reports ABC News. America First Action told the network in a statement that “We take our legal obligations seriously and scrupulously comply with the law and any suggestion otherwise is false.”
  • Two other Giuliani associates named on the indictment, David Correia and Andrey Kukushkin, were also arrested. The four men will be back in court on different dates as federal prosecutors proceed with the case.

Key background: The Washington Post reports that Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, has been working with Parnas and Fruman since 2018 to get Ukrainian officials to launch two investigations: one into Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden and the other based on Giuliani’s unsupported claim that Ukraine worked with Democrats to undermine Trump’s 2016 campaign. Previously, Parnas donated $50,000 to Trump’s campaign, and the two men donated $325,000 through a company incorporated by them to a pro-Trump super PAC in 2018.  Including the donations Fruman made under his misspelled name, the two men contributed almost $1 million to political campaigns.

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I'm a New York-based journalist covering breaking news at Forbes. I hold a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. Previous bylines: G