Giuliani associate got $1 million from indicted Ukrainian
New York – A business associate of Rudy Giuliani received a $1 million payment in September from an indicted Ukrainian oligarch who is a fugitive from justice in the U.S., federal prosecutors revealed Tuesday.
The disclosure came during a court hearing in New York for Lev Parnas, who is awaiting trial on charges that he made illegal campaign contributions to U.S. politicians, including some made as part of an effort to influence policy on Ukraine.
Prosecutors asked a judge to revoke Parnas’ bail because he failed to disclose the payment from Dmytro Firtash to the court during an investigation of his assets. The judge denied the request to revoke his bail.
Parnas should be put back behind bars because he “poses a significant risk of flight for several reasons, the chief among which are his considerable ties abroad and access to seemingly limitless sources of foreign funding,” prosecutors had said in court papers.
In court Tuesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Rebekah Donaleski revealed the $1 million payment came from an attorney for Firtash, who was was arrested in Austria in 2014 to face charges in the U.S. accusing him of conspiring to pay bribes in India in connection with a titanium mining enterprise.
Firtash has denied the charges and has been fighting extradition. A court in Vienna freed him while appeals of his extradition were pending.
The $1 million payment went into an account in the name of Parnas’ wife. A lawyer for Parnas, Joseph Bondy, said the money was a loan for the purpose of buying a $4.5 million house. Prosecutors acknowledged in a court filing that the majority of the money was used for personal expenses and to buy a home, but they said Parnas still should have disclosed the payment when he was required to detail his assets when he applied for bail.
Parnas and an associate, Igor Fruman, worked with Giuliani to try to get Ukrainian officials to investigate the son of Democrat Joe Biden. Both men have pleaded not guilty to charges that they gained access to U.S. politicians by making big campaign contributions, including some made on behalf of foreigners.
Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, has said he had no knowledge of illegal donations.