Federal prosecutors have issued subpoenas to those connected to Rudy Giuliani and his business associates that reportedly spell out a widespread investigation into potential obstruction of justice, fraud and money laundering.
Investigators have sent subpoenas as well as other requests to potential witnesses in the past few weeks seeking records and information related to President Donald Trump’s personal attorney and two of Giuliani’s associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal in a report published Monday. The Washington Post later also reported that the subpoenas were issued.
The subpoenas, according to the Journal, indicate that prosecutors are investigating Giuliani’s consulting work with the entities named in the subpoenas, including Giuliani Partners, his security-consulting firm that had multiple foreign clients, such as a city in Ukraine. The subpoenas also request information on Fraud Guarantee, a company co-founded by Parnas that paid Giuliani $500,000 for business and legal consultations.
The subpoenas described to the Journal listed nine potential charges: obstruction of justice, money laundering, conspiracy to defraud the U.S., making false statements to the government, serving as an unregistered foreign agent, donating foreign money, making donations in another person’s name, mail fraud and wire fraud.
Parnas and Fruman have already been indicted on campaign finance violations in the investigation being led by the FBI and the Southern District of New York. The two Florida businessmen were arrested in October on charges of illegally funneling $325,000 to America First Action, a pro-Trump election committee, and other Republican political candidates. They’ve pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Giuliani hired lawyers earlier this month to represent him as SDNY prosecutors examine his interactions with Parnas and Fruman. The former mayor of New York City said he is now represented by Robert Costello, Eric Creizman and Melissa Madrigal. Giuliani has denied any wrongdoing, though he has not yet been directly accused of a crime.
Giuliani is one of the key players in the House’s impeachment investigation into Trump’s actions, helping direct the shadow diplomacy in Ukraine that included the withholding of U.S. military aid until Kyiv agreed to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
Trump and Giuliani have repeatedly and falsely accused former Vice President Biden of blocking Ukrainian prosecutors from investigating Burisma, the independent Ukrainian gas company whose board Hunter Biden served on until earlier this year. Both Bidens have denied any wrongdoing, and there is no evidence substantiating the allegations of corruption against them.
Parnas and Fruman were part of Giuliani’s campaign to convince Ukraine to conduct investigations, helping introduce Trump’s personal attorney ― who has no official position at the White House ― to Ukrainian officials involved in promoting the unsubstantiated allegations against the Bidens, as well as against Marie Yovanovitch, who was removed as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine as part of a smear campaign.
“I didn’t understand that at all, because I had never met Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman, and so it was unclear to me why ― why they were interested in ― in doing this,” Yovanovitch told Congress in her witness testimony.
That assistance sometimes mixed with the businessmen’s professional interests, including wanting to install new management in Ukraine’s huge state-owned gas firm, Naftogaz, in order to then steer lucrative contracts to companies controlled by them.
Since his indictment, Parnas’s attorney Joseph Bondy said his client is willing to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry and has reportedly submitted materials to the House Intelligence Committee. Bondy also said Parnas is prepared to tell Congress about how Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the ranking GOP member of the committee, met with former Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin to try to find dirt on the Bidens. Nunes has denied the allegations.
Giuliani told the Journal on Sunday that he refers clients to registered lobbyists when they ask him to do something related to the Trump administration. He also denied having any business dealings in Ukraine since becoming Trump’s lawyer in April 2018.
“All they have to do is come and ask me,” he told the Journal of investigators. “There’s obviously a concerted effort to spread as many lies about me as possible, to destroy my reputation so that I’m not credible when I continue to reveal all of the massive evidence of criminality by the Bidens.”
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