Two Florida businessmen, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who were reportedly helping Rudy Giuliani with his Ukraine investigation were arrested late Wednesday on unrelated charges they violated campaign finance laws when donating to Republicans, including a pro-Trump super PAC, according to reports.
The Campaign Legal Center, a transparency advocacy group, filed a complaint against the two men with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) in July 2018, accusing them of violating campaign finance laws by using an LLC to hide the source of their donations, according to the Wall Street Journal.
In May 2018, they gave $325,000 to the primary pro-Trump super PAC, America First Action, through Global Energy Partners LLC, according to the WSJ.
A spokeswoman for American First Action told the WSJ they had put the donation in a segregated bank account filing the group’s complaint and said it “has not been used for any purpose and the funds will remain in this segregated account until these matters are resolved.”
The men have donated just over $500,000 in the past three years, including to Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), the National Republican Congressional Committee, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), according to the WSJ.
They are expected to appear in federal court in Virginia on Thursday. Both are being represented by John Dowd, the former head of Trump’s White House legal team.
The two men are reportedly both clients of Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani and had separately assisted him in efforts to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, according to the WSJ. The two men are reportedly born in former Soviet republics, but which ones have not been specified.
The WSJ report cites information from a Soros-funded group, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), alleging that the men had dinner with the president in May 2018 and later that month met with Donald Trump Jr.
The two men reportedly introduced Giuliani to several current and former senior Ukrainian prosecutors to discuss Biden’s case beginning late 2018, and House Democrats have sought documents and depositions from them since last month.
The WSJ also reported that Parnas and Fruman allegedly worked to oust the ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, who was removed from her post earlier this year.
The paper also reported that both men told the Soros-funded group OCCRP that they told Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) that Yovanovitch was bad-mouthing Trump, and Sessions reportedly asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for her removal. Sessions did not confirm that to the WSJ.
On Thursday, House Democrats subpoenaed the men to appear before Congress in their impeachment inquiry against Trump.
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