Federal investigators are reportedly probing the Ukraine business dealings of Rudy Giuliani, the former New York city mayor who now works as a personal attorney for President Donald Trump.
Giuliani’s bank records, finances, meetings and work for a Ukrainian mayor are all being scrutinized by federal prosecutors in Manhattan, according to the Wall Street Journal. The investigation, which is being led by the U.S. attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York, which Giuliani once led, also reportedly encompasses whether Giuliani committed crimes along with two of his business associates: Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman.
Parnas and Fruman were arrested last week after an indictment accused the pair of conspiring "to circumvent the federal laws against foreign influence by engaging in a scheme to funnel foreign money to candidates for federal and state office so that the defendants could by potential influence with the candidates, campaigns and the candidates' governments." The two men, who are scheduled to appear Tuesday in a federal courtroom in Manhattan, have yet to enter pleas .
A defiant Giuliani told reporters that investigators “can look at my Ukraine business all they want.”
The former mayor also admitted Monday to Reuters that he had been paid $500,000 for work he did for “Fraud Guarantee,” a Boca Raton-based company founded by Parnas. The company, which states on its website that it helps clients “reduce and mitigate fraud,” began working with the management and security consulting firm Giuliani Partners in August 2018. Giuliani claims that he provided technological consulting work and legal advice regarding regulatory issues.
Giuliani’s consulting work in Ukraine began shortly after his unsuccessful bid for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, which was ultimately won by the late Sen. John McCain of Arizona. Giuliani began first advised the boxer-turned-politician Vitali Klitschko, who eventually became mayor of Kyiv (albeit not while working alongside him). Giuliani also held business meetings with then-President Petro Poroshenko and then-prosecutor general Yuriy Lutsenko in 2017. During that same year, Giuliani Security & Safety signed a contract with the city of Kharkiv to improve their emergency services.
Giuliani’s relationship with Ukraine has come under increased scrutiny amid the impeachment inquiry against Trump. During a closed-door meeting Monday with House investigators, Fiona Hill, the president’s former top adviser on Russia, described how Giuliani and Gordon Sondland, Trump’s ambassador to the European Union, allegedly waged a shadow foreign policy in Ukraine. Last week, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified that Giuliani had her fired even though she had "done nothing wrong.”
The underlying controversy surrounds a phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky on July 25. Trump solicited Zelensky to investigate whether former Vice President Joe Biden had pushed for the resignation of top prosecutor Viktor Shokin in order to protect his son Hunter Biden from supposed corruption charges. (There is no evidence that the younger Biden committed corrupt or illegal acts.) There are also concerns that Trump may have held up providing promised military aid to Ukraine in return for extracting his requested “favor” on the Bidens.