NEW YORK, October 18 (Reuters) – A Russian businessman has funded an account used by two former associates of Rudy Giuliani to donate to American political campaigns, according to documents presented in court Monday.
Prosecutors presented the financial records to a jury in a Manhattan federal court during the second week of the trial of one of the former associates, Lev Parnas, for violating campaign finance laws.
Prosecutors said Ukraine-born Parnas and another associate of Giuliani, Belarus-born Igor Fruman, illegally funneled money from Moscow-based businessman Andrey Muraviev to candidates in the states. Americans where the group was seeking licenses to operate cannabis businesses. Parnas pleaded not guilty.
Two companies owned by Muraviev transferred $ 1 million to an account held by FD Import & Export Corp of Fruman between June and December 2018, according to bank statements.
This account then paid off over 99% of a credit card account balance that Parnas, Fruman and a company they founded donated over $ 150,000 to candidates and committees before the November 6 election. 2018, according to records. .
Fruman pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws in September.
Parnas ‘lawyer Joseph Bondy said in opening arguments last week that Muraviev’s money was being used for business ventures, not Parnas’ campaign contributions.
The case gained attention because of the role Parnas and Fruman played in helping Giuliani – Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and former New York City mayor – investigate Joe Biden ahead of the 2020 election. Biden, a Democrat, defeated Republican Trump’s reelection candidacy.
Giuliani’s attorney said the Parnas case was separate from a federal investigation into whether Giuliani violated lobbying laws while working as Trump’s attorney. Giuliani has not been charged with any crime and denies any wrongdoing
Report by Luc Cohen in New York; edited by Richard Pullin
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