Fourth man arrested in probe of Ukrainian campaign finance scheme tied to Giuliani's associates

David Correia is now in federal custody and will be arraigned Thursday

Published October 16, 2019 5:28PM (EDT)

Rudy Giuliani (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Rudy Giuliani (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

David Correia — who was charged last week in a campaign finance case involving two business associates of President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani — was arrested Wednesday morning at Kennedy Airport in New York City, federal authorities said.

Correia, 44, had been charged with participating in a conspiracy to conceal the source of political contributions that came from foreign donors, according to an indictment unsealed last week.

Two of the other defendants in the case, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were arrested last week on charges they made illegal campaign contributions to several Republican campaigns and a political action committee supporting Trump. They were also arrested at the airport, while trying to board an international flight with one-way tickets.

Federal prosecutors alleged the pair schemed to raise and donate money for former Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, whose assistance Parnas sought in "causing the U.S. government to remove or recall the then–U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine." The indictment claims those efforts were conducted "at least in part, at the request of one or more Ukrainian government officials."

Rep. Sessions has denied wrongdoing and said he had been approached by Parnas and Fruman for a meeting about "the strategic need for Ukraine to become energy independent."

In May, Trump moved to oust Marie Yovanovitch, then the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine. The move came at the same time Giuliani identified Parnas and Fruman as his clients and was urging Ukrainian officials to investigate the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, Hunter.

The indictment, filed in the Southern District of New York, revealed new information about the attempt to pressure Ukraine, which is at the heart of the impeachment inquiry into Trump that House Democrats launched last month.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and said he does not know Parnas and Fruman. He also said he hadn't discussed them with Giuliani and hoped Giuliani wouldn't be indicted.

Federal prosecutors are also investigating Giuliani's business dealings with Parnas and Fruman. Giuliani has denied wrongdoing but has acknowledged that he and associates worked with Ukrainian officials to procure potentially damaging information about Trump's political rivals.

Correia was not directly linked to the part of the case involving Sessions, but federal prosecutors tied him to efforts by Parnas and Fruman to evade bans on straw donor and foreign donor contributions to political campaigns and elections.

In court papers, the men were accused of "engaging 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."

Correia is accused of conspiring with the other defendants, including Ukrainian-born U.S. citizen Andrey Kukushkin, to make political donations in an effort to drum up support for a new recreational marijuana business in Nevada and other states. Correia had been abroad when the charges were unsealed last week.

By Shira Tarlo

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