Lev Parnas, a Ukrainian-Floridian businessman who is both a client and associate of Rudy Giuliani’s, would only say after posting bond that he has the “truth on [his] side” and that “God is with [him],” per the Washington Post.
Parnas, the co-founder of the company Fraud Guarantee (a company Giuliani said he was paid $500,000 to advise), was arrested on Oct. 9, along Igor Fruman. The arrests occurred at Dulles Airport in Virginia, from where they were attempting to leave the U.S. via a one-way ticket. As WaPo reported on Oct. 10, Parnas and Fruman were told they would have to meet a steep price to get out of jail on bond:
Parnas and Fruman have been under investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan. After a court appearance Thursday in Alexandria, Va., the pair were approved for release on $1 million bond each, under the condition they remain at their Florida homes with GPS monitoring and third-party custodians. They will remain in jail until those conditions are met.
That price was adjusted; Parnas’s release on Monday was expected.
Fruman was previously released on bond but did not have anything to say.
Parnas is scheduled to appear at an arraignment in the Southern District of New York (SDNY) on Wednesday.
Parnas and Fruman were each hit with two counts of conspiracy, one count of making false statements, and one count of falsification of records. The charges were related to alleged campaign finance violations. Also named in the unsealed indictment were defendants David Correia, another Fraud Guarantee co-founder, and Andrey Kukushkin. They were each charged with one count of conspiracy. Giuliani, for his part, is also subject of the SDNY investigation.
Parnas says the truth is on his side, but here’s what federal prosecutors say is the truth:
Parnas and Fruman, the defendants, made additional contributions to federal candidates, joint fundraising committees, and independent expenditure committees that either (i) were intentionally funneled through, and made in the name of, a limited liability corporation to conceal that Parnas and Fruman were the true source of contributions and skirt the federal reporting requirements; or (ii) were reported in Parnas’s name but were funded by Fruman, which allowed Fruman to exceed limits on contributions to candidates or committees to whom he had previously contributed. The defendants further concealed this aspect of the conspiracy by, among other things, making and causing others to make false statements to the [Federal Election Commission].
Former Trump attorney John Dowd has said that Parnas and Fruman played a role in assisting Giuliani in his representation of President Donald Trump, while the The New York Times has reported that the defendants played a role in “ginning up” investigations into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden:
Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman aided Mr. Giuliani’s efforts to gin up investigations in Ukraine into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden, among other potentially politically beneficial investigations for Mr. Trump. Mr. Parnas had been scheduled to participate in a deposition with House impeachment investigators on Capitol Hill on Thursday, and Mr. Fruman on Friday. Neither had been expected to show up voluntarily. House Democrats were preparing to issue subpoenas to force them to do so.
In May 2018, Parnas and Fruman made a $325,000 donation to pro-Trump super PAC America First Action, Inc. This donation was the subject of a complaint filed by nonpartisan government watchdog organization Campaign Legal Center (CLC) in July. According to CLC, Parnas and Fruman failed to disclose “the true source of money at the time of making the contribution to America First Action” and also attributed “the source of the money” to “another person” who was not the source of the money.
As previously reported, Parnas and Fruman are Trump donors who somehow became aware of key U.S. foreign policy plans months in advance. Namely: Fruman, Parnas and oil billionaire Harry Sargeant III reportedly knew the former U.S. Ambassador to the Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, was being fired by Trump months before she was actually given the axe by the 45th president.
The trio also reportedly attempted to use this foreknowledge to their economic advantage by dangling the information and an unprecedented promotion–as well as a potential importation deal–before an executive at the Ukraine’s national gas company Naftogaz.
A lawyer for Sargeant has disputed media reports about his client.
Christopher Kise of Foley & Lardner LLP said that news stories have “unfairly and inaccurately portray[ed] Mr. Sargeant as having involvement in Ukraine business affairs.”
“Mr. Sargeant conducts no business of any kind in the Ukraine and has not visited Ukraine, even as a tourist, in well over a decade. Attending a single, informal dinner in Houston does not place Mr. Sargeant at the center of any Naftogaz or Ukrainian business plan,” Kise said. “In March 2019, while attending the CERAWeek 2019 conference in Houston, Texas, one of the largest energy industry trade events in the world, Mr. Sargeant was asked to attend an informal dinner with Andrew Favorov, Igor Fruman, and Lev Parnas, and to offer his views on the global oil and gas industry.”
The rest of the statement:
Mr. Sargeant never discussed any role or participation in any Ukraine venture, nor any specifics regarding the potential business ventures of the other dinner participants. At the dinner, Mr. Sargeant simply provided broad industry guidance and his expert view on the challenges presented by operating in foreign markets.
Notably absent from this dinner was the media’s alleged “source,” Dale Perry. Indeed, Mr. Sargeant has never even met with or spoken to Mr. Perry. Unfortunately, however, the media has seized on the uncorroborated statements of Mr. Perry, who may well be generating stories to discredit his competitors and advance his own interests in the Ukraine. Whatever his motivation, one thing remains clear, Harry Sargeant has nothing to do with Ukrainian businesses.
Finally, Mr. Sargeant is not a member of Mar-a-Lago and has never met there with Donald Trump since Mr. Trump has been President.
Since Parnas’s arrest, scrutiny on his connection to Trump World has only intensified.
Colin Kalmbacher contributed to this report.
Editor’s note: this story was updated with a statement from Harry Sargeant’s lawyer.
[Image via Alexandria Sheriff’s Office]
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