November 18, 2019, 23:01

Two men with ties to Giuliani arrested on campaign finance charges

Two men with ties to Giuliani arrested on campaign finance charges

Two men who have reportedly assisted Rudy Giuliani in his efforts to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden’s family have been arrested and are expected to face charges for allegedly violating campaign finance law, a federal law enforcement official told ABC News on Thursday.

(MORE: Graham plans to invite Giuliani to testify on Ukraine affair )

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Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two Soviet-born businessmen based in Florida, were arrested Wednesday and are expected to face charges from the U.S. Attorneys for the Southern District of New York. Both Parnas and Fruman have been tied to the work done by the president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, in Ukraine where Giuliani has had significant business interests.

Additionally, for the last year, Giuliani has been investigating Hunter Biden and his financial interests in Ukraine. It was not immediately clear the nature of the charges related to Parnas and Fruman or if the charges have any relation to the work being done by Giuliani.

According to an Associated Press report, Parnas and Fruman sought to replace the CEO of Naftogaz, a Ukrainian state-owned energy company, Andriy Kobolyev with another senior executive at the Ukrainian company, Andrew Favorov. According to the AP, their goal was to partner up with Favorov in a lucrative deal to export up to 100 tanker shipments a year of U.S. liquefied gas into Ukraine.

Aram Roston/Reuters

President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani with Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., Sept. 20, 2019.

The two have been major donors to the president, making a series of big and small contributions to Trump’s various fundraising vehicles as early as 2016. Their single-biggest contribution — a $325,000 check to pro-Trump super PAC America First Action from last year — was made under the name of their newly established gas company named Global Energy Producers.

The Campaign Legal Center via AP

This Facebook screen shot provided by The Campaign Legal Center, shows President Donald Trump standing with Lev Parnas, top left photo, at the White House in Washington, posted on May 1, 2018.

(MORE: From a controversial phone call to impeachment calls: A Trump whistleblower timeline )

According to a court document in a separate case filed by an investor to Global Energy Producers, the investor’s legal team wrote that Parnas and Fruman had bragged to him about their close relationships with key allies of the president, including Giuliani, former Trump-aide-turned Washington lobbyist Brian Ballard and Nick Ayers, the former chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence.

The Campaign Legal Center via AP

This Facebook screen shot provided by The Campaign Legal Center, shows from left, Lev Parnas with former Rep. Pete Sessions. In the right photo, Lev Parnas, former Rep. Pete Sessions, and David Correia, in Washington, D.C., posted on May 9, 2018.

Parnas and Fruman, who have been sent a letter from House Democrats last week requesting documents and deposition, along with Giuliani, recently hired President Trump’s former lawyer John Dowd. Dowd earlier this week announced in a statement that his clients won’t be able to comply with House Democrats’ request for documents and deposition, which are due this week.

Attempts to reach Dowd Thursday for comment were not immediately successful. The news of the arrests was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Sourse: abcnews.go.com

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