Trump Attorney Rudy Giuliani addresses the crowd at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit on December 19, 2019 in Palm Beach, Florida. Conservative high school students gathered for a 4-day invite-only conference hosted by Turning Point USA to hear from conservative leaders and activists from across the U.S. (Saul Martinez/Getty Images)

Federal probe of Lev Parnas inches closer to Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani: report

Prosecutors reportedly sought information on Giuliani's consulting firm as they weigh new charges against Parnas


Igor Derysh
February 18, 2020 3:59PM (UTC)

Federal prosecutors sought to obtain new documents related to Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani's consulting firm as they weigh new charges against his associates in connection to a company that paid him $500,000, according to a new report.

Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York (SDNY), an office once led by Giuliani, are considering additional charges against two indicted associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, for misleading investors about Fraud Guarantee, the company which made the large payment to Giuliani in August 2018, CNN reported. Parnas helped Giuliani hunt for damaging information on the Bidens in Ukraine.

Advertisement:

The news comes mere days after The Washington Post reported that the SDNY sought to obtain information about Giuliani and his consulting firm, Giuliani Partners. Prosecutors also requested information related to former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, who was pushed out after a smear campaign by Giuliani, Parnas and Fruman.

Giuliani denied that prosecutors asked him for any documents after Attorney General William Barr created a special "process" for him to submit information he gathered about President Donald Trump's political rivals to the Department of Justice, even though he is under the department's scrutiny.

"They have asked me for not a single thing, and I didn't do anything remotely illegal and can demonstrate that if they ever care to ask," Giuliani told The Post. "I do believe it's unfair if they are investigating, but I have no indication they are."

Advertisement:

Parnas attorney Joseph Bondy said he was not surprised that prosecutors had expanded their investigation.

"It comes as no surprise to us at all that the Southern District is continuing its investigation, whether into the activities of Mr. Giuliani, Mr. Parnas or others," he told the outlet. "As prosecutors have consistently said, they may well bring additional charges against additional people, as well as Mr. Parnas, and as always we're prepared to defend ourselves on any new allegations."

CNN reported that the scrutiny of Fraud Guarantee, a corporate consulting firm which Parnas reportedly co-founded in 2013 with the intention of burying allegations of fraud against him in Google search results, is focused on whether he and his cohorts misled investors about the company's value.

Advertisement:

The company paid Giuliani $500,000 as Parnas and Fruman, who also aimed to break into the natural gas industry in Ukraine, sought the ouster of Yovanovitch, whom they believed stood in the way of their business interests in the European country.

The company then seized on Giuliani's reputation to pitch investors while Parnas and Fruman began to help Trump's personal attorney with his shadow foreign policy efforts in Ukraine, which ultimately led to his client's impeachment.

Advertisement:

Yovanovitch was ousted by Trump in May 2019. Parnas and Fruman were later indicted on charges that they illegally funneled foreign money into Republican campaigns in October 2019.

Along with renewed scrutiny of Fraud Guarantee and Giuliani Partners, prosecutors also previously subpoenaed a consulting firm that hired Giuliani to lobby Romanian authorities to provide amnesty to officials charged with corruption, according to The Post.

Giuliani's foreign work has come under scrutiny as prosecutors investigate a range of potential crimes, including fraud and failure to register as a foreign agent, the outlet previously reported.

Advertisement:

Prosecutors reportedly asked about former Ukrainian prosecutors Victor Shokin and Yuri Lutsenko, who are at the heart of Giuliani's debunked conspiracy theory about the Bidens. Lutsenko negotiated a potentially lucrative deal for Giuliani during his travails in the country.

Prosecutors showed particular interested in Parnas' finances after telling a judge that he appeared to have access to "seemingly limitless sources of foreign funding." Prosecutors claimed that he tried to hide a $1 million loan that he received in September from Dmytro Firtash, a Ukrainian oligarch charged with corruption in the U.S. who also negotiated a deal with Giuliani and his associates.

Parnas has turned over thousands of documents to House investigators in connection to his work with Giuliani and Trump, including a trove of videos and photos showing him mingling with Trump, his family members and other prominent Republicans. He publicly discussed his work with Giuliani in multiple television interviews last month.

Advertisement:

The scrutiny of Giuliani comes after the Justice Department allowed him to submit information gathered in the scheme that led to Trump's impeachment to federal prosecutors. The move came despite Barr previously warning Trump that Giuliani had become a "liability" for the administration.

Bondy submitted a letter to Barr calling on him to recuse himself from the SDNY investigation shortly before the attorney general intervened in a range of cases related to Trump out of concern that he could unfairly influence the case. He has also called for the appointment of a special prosecutor.

"The public record is replete with requests for your recusal . . . and public outcry that you have not," the letter said, adding that Barr had been named by Trump during his Ukraine pressure effort and in the whistleblower complaint which triggered the inquiry into his impeachment. "Federal ethics guidelines bar federal employees from participating in matters in which their impartiality could be questioned, including maters in which they were personally involved or about which they have personal knowledge."


Igor Derysh

Igor Derysh is a staff writer at Salon. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald and Baltimore Sun.

MORE FROM Igor Derysh



Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •