A judge today approved a $1 million bond in property and business for two associates of President Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph Giuliani, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, along with mandatory home confinement and GPS monitoring.
Parnas and Fruman remain in custody until those conditions are met.
Their next hearing date is set for next Thursday afternoon in SDNY.
They were been arrested on charges of conspiring to funnel money to U.S. politicians from overseas, and attempting to manipulate U.S.-Ukraine foreign relations, the just-unsealed indictment reveals.
[Read the indictment: U.S. vs Lev Parnas et al.]
Parnas and Fruman have reportedly been working with Giuliani to cook up opposition campaigns against Democratic presidential candidate and former VP Joe Biden, and The Washington Post reports the two men were arrested “Wednesday evening at Dulles International Airport outside of Washington, D.C., where they had one-way tickets on a flight out of the country.”
The pair have been under investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan. At an initial court appearance Thursday afternoon in Alexandria, Va., prosecutors said they were concerned Parnas and Fruman were flight risks, but that they would negotiate with their lawyers about a possible bail package.
Wednesday’s arrests mark the first criminal charges to emerge out of the U.S. government’s suddenly controversial relationship with Ukraine — tying discussions about diplomacy to alleged violations of campaign finance law.
That investigation has been going on for a while, months at least, which leads one to wonder if Giuliani might have known something, and if he did, whether he might have been inclined to let the two gentlemen know.
Oh, and the feds say they had a marijuana business scheme:
The 21-page indictment also alleges a separate scheme stretching from June 2018 to April of this year in which Parnas, Fruman and two other defendants, David Correia and Andrey Kukushkin, conspired to make political donations secretly funded by an unidentified Russian businessman in the hopes of winning support for a marijuana business.
The plan, according to prosecutors, was to acquire retail marijuana licenses in Nevada and other states. In September 2018, Parnas, Fruman, Correia, Kukushkin and the Russian businessman met in Las Vegas to discuss the venture, the indictment charges. However, the group made efforts to hide the foreign national’s role because of what Kukushkin allegedly described as the businessman’s “Russian roots and current political paranoia about it.”
To fund the effort, the Russian businessman allegedly gave the others two payments totaling $1 million, and the American partners set out to try to win political support for their business plan. The four defendants “used those funds transferred by Foreign National-1, in part, to attempt to gain influence and the appearance of influence with politicians and candidates,” the indictment charges.
READ MORE: Two business associates of Trump’s personal attorney Giuliani have been arrested on campaign finance charges [Washington Post, Devlin Barrett, John Wagner, Rosalind S. Helderman ]
President Trump claims he does not know the two associates of Rudy Giuliani who were arrested trying to leave the country, despite photographs that show him meeting them.
— Shimon Prokupecz (@ShimonPro) October 10, 2019