Russian businessman funded former Giuliani associates' account, court records show

Lev Parnas is accused of breaking campaign finance laws

A Russian businessman funded an account used by two former associates of Rudy Giuliani to donate to US political campaigns, according to documents shown in court on Monday.

Prosecutors presented the financial records to a Manhattan Federal Court jury in the second week of the trial of one of the former associates, Lev Parnas, on charges of breaking campaign finance laws.

Prosecutors say the Ukraine-born Parnas and another Giuliani associate, Belarus-born Igor Fruman, illegally funnelled money from Moscow businessman Andrey Muraviev to candidates in US states where the group was seeking licences to operate cannabis businesses.

Mr Parnas has pleaded not guilty.

Two firms owned by Mr Muraviev sent $1 million to an account held by Fruman's FD Import and Export Corporation between June and December 2018, bank statements showed.

That account then paid off more than 99 per cent of the balance on a credit card account Mr Parnas, Fruman and a company they founded, which was used to make more than $150,000 in donations to candidates and committees before the November 6, 2018 election, the records showed.

Fruman pleaded guilty to breaching campaign finance laws in September.

Parnas's lawyer, Joseph Bondy, said in opening arguments last week that Mr Muraviev's money was used for business ventures, not his client's campaign contributions.

The case has drawn attention because of the role Mr Parnas and Fruman played in helping Mr Giuliani, Donald Trump's former personal lawyer and a former New York City mayor, investigate Joe Biden before the 2020 presidential election.

Mr Biden, a Democrat, defeated Republican Mr Trump's re-election bid.

Mr Giuliani's lawyer has said the Parnas case is separate from a federal inquiry into whether Mr Giuliani broke lobbying laws while working as Mr Trump's lawyer.

Mr Giuliani has not been charged with any crimes and denies any wrongdoing.

Updated: October 19th 2021, 3:49 PM
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