Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman are accused of using a limited liability company to make political contributions related to American elections, in violation of FEC prohibitions against contributions from foreign nationals. Both men have been linked to Giuliani’s efforts to conduct investigations in Ukraine.
“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 government official with whom they were working,” the indictment, filed in the Southern District of New York, says.
Lev Parnas (left) and Igor Fruman (right) are accused of using a limited liability company to make political contributions related to American elections. (Courtesy of Alexandria Sheriff’s office)
A federal law enforcement source told Fox News that Parnas and Fruman were arrested Wednesday at Dulles International Airport in Virginia. Attorney General Bill Barr has been “aware and supportive” of SDNY officials and knew that both men would be arrested and charged Wednesday, a senior Justice Department official told Fox News.
Giuliani told Fox News that he represents Parnas and Fruman on a separate matter and called their arrest and indictment “timing suspect.” He stated that he “will reveal relevant facts very very shortly.”
Giuliani, an attorney for President Trump, said he finds it “extremely suspicious” that the arrest was made in connection with an FEC matter that has yet to be resolved, and which Giuliani said is a civil matter. Giuliani acknowledged that both men “logistically helped” in his collection of evidence against Hunter Biden, and that they helped connect him with former Ukrainian top prosecutors Viktor Shokin and Yuriy Lutsenko.
Parnas and Fruman created Global Energy Producers (GEP), and allegedly funneled money through the company. This included contributions of $325,000 and $15,000 to committees in May 2018, “to obtain access to exclusive policital events and gain influence with politicians,” the indictment says. They allegedly incorporated GEP around the time the contributions were made.
This Facebook screen shot provided by The Campaign Legal Center, shows from left, Donald Trump, Jr., Tommy Hicks, Jr., Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, posted on May 21, 2018. (The Campaign Legal Center via AP)
According to FEC records, GEP contributed $325,000 in May 2018 to pro-Trump super PAC America First Action. In a statement, a spokesperson for America First Action noted that a complaint was filed with the FEC in July 2018 over this contribution, as well as separate litigation in Florida. The statement said that the money was placed “in a segregated bank account,” was not used, and “will remain in this segregated account until these matters are resolved.”
“We take our legal obligations seriously and scrupulously comply with the law and any suggestion otherwise is false,” the statement said.
Both men are accused of making false statements in response to the FEC complaint, related to the nature of GEP and the contribution.
Additionally, contributions from Fruman were allegedly made in Parnas’ name to get around federal contribution limits, and several contributions were made under the name “Igor Furman” instead of “Fruman,” allegedly “to conceal the source of the funds and to evade federal reporting requirements.”
The indictment also claims that Parnas and Fruman “committed to raise $20,000 or more for a then-sitting U.S. Congressman” whom they had met at a political event. At approximately the same time that they made that commitment, Parnas and the Congressman discussed the Congressman’s assistance in securing the removal of the then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, and this was done “at least in part, at the request of one or more Ukrainian government officials,” the indictment alleges.
The indictment also lays out allegations of a separate “foreign national donor scheme” involving the two men and two other defendants, American David Correia, and Ukrainian national Andrey Kukushkin, where they allegedly engaged in a conspiracy to make political contributions funded by an unnamed Russian national to obtain influence with political candidates regarding policies to benefit a recreational marijuana business venture, and to help obtain retail marijuana licenses.
Following the indictment, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Eliot L. Engel, D-N.Y., sent a letter accompanying subpoenas for Parnas and Fruman for documents pertaining to the impeachment investigation of President Trump.
“In addition to providing the subpoenaed documents, the Committees also expect your clients to appear to testify about these matters at a later date,” the letter said.
Fox News’ Catherine Herridge, John Roberts and Jake Gibson contributed to this report.